The facility – having the capacity to store large amounts of vaccines – will benefit 1 million children as well as 1 million women of child-bearing age. Last year, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Health in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to support the provincial government to effectively administer immunization services.
An inauguration ceremony of the cold chain warehouse was held in Peshawar on Thursday. UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, Mr. George Okoth-Obbo, the Minister of State for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), Mr. Shehryar Khan Afridi, the Provincial Finance Minister, Mr. Taimur Khan Jhagra, the Provincial Health Minister, Dr. Hisham Inamullah Khan, and other distinguished guests attended the ceremony.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Okoth-Obbo said that he was pleased to learn that UNHCR has built vaccine storage facilities in both the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, which are hosting the largest numbers of refugees.
“In the last five years, UNHCR has helped channel more than $38 million to Pakistan just to support health care,” he said, adding that the international community values Pakistan’s generous support towards Afghan refugees despite facing its own economic and social challenges.
Mr. Okoth-Obbo reiterated UNHCR’s commitment to help mobilize additional political, financial and technical support for sustainable solutions for Afghan refugees. He informed that UNHCR and the Governments of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan have decided to launch a Support Platform to enhance international solidarity for the Afghan refugee situation.
To be formally launched in December at the first-ever Global Refugee Forum – the first major meeting on refugees of the 21st century – Mr. Okoth-Obbo explained that the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) Support Platform will seek stronger political and financial commitments to accelerate concrete results.
Pakistan is one of five co-conveners of this world meeting on refugees, which presents a unique opportunity for the international community to make a tangible and long-term difference in the lives of refugees and the communities that host them.