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Subsidising diseases

Government subsidies are important and provide relief for the poor segment, especially when inflation is hitting hard. However, when these subsidies extend to unhealthy food items, the consequences for public health can be significant. Let’s discuss the health implications of subsidising unhealthy food items. Continue reading

Unveiling dyslexia: hidden struggles

Can you imagine a world where a child’s learning difficulties are not barriers but stepping stones to becoming a world-renowned scientist, a successful actor, director or a renowned journalist? Albert Einstein, the genius behind the theory of relativity, once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” If the remarkable minds of Einstein, Steven Spielberg and Richard Branson are any indication, dyslexia may hold the key to unlocking the boundless potential of the human imagination. Continue reading

Trans-fats: a silent killer

Cardiovascular diseases are considered a major health concern primarily for developing nations. Approximately 17 million people die due to heart disease worldwide every year. According to the recent WHO report on heart attack ratio in Pakistan, 240,720 people died from coronary heart disease in Pakistan in 2020, accounting for 16.49% of all fatalities. Unfortunately, Pakistan is ranked 30 in the world with a death rate of 193.56 per 100,000 people. Continue reading

NADRA urged to take leadership role in promoting open data

Islamabad:The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has written to Tariq Malik, the chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), to request the development and publication of various types of reports on NADRA’s website to enhance public participation, says a press release.

In the letter, CPDI’s Executive Director, Mukhtar Ahmad Ali, expressed his appreciation for the excellent initiatives being taken under Malik’s leadership, such as the eHealth suite. He also acknowledged the reports already being shared on the NADRA website, such as the ‘Annual Report 2020’ and the ‘Voter Turnout Report for General Elections 2018.’

However, Ali emphasised the immense benefits of open data initiatives in increasing transparency and accountability in the public sector. He requested NADRA to consider publishing more reports on its website, including demographic reports, voter registration reports, health reports, education reports, and a disability trends report.

Demographic reports can help policymakers allocate resources to meet the needs of different age groups, genders, people with disabilities, and geographic areas. Voter registration reports can be instrumental in ensuring fair and transparent elections, and education reports can provide insight into enrollment rates, literacy levels, and the quality of education in different regions.

Meanwhile, a disability trends report can offer critical information on the prevalence and nature of disabilities in Pakistan, as well as the access to and quality of services and support available to people with disabilities.

Ali acknowledged that NADRA has a wealth of data and information that could be valuable to the public, policymakers, and researchers. By publishing these reports as open data, NADRA can increase transparency and accountability in the public sector, promote public participation, cultivate a culture of accountability, and ultimately improve the overall quality of life for the citizens of Pakistan.

Nadra launches helpline for persons with disabilities

ISLAMABAD: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has launched a dedicated helpline for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

One of the most significant features of this helpline is the priority call handling system. This system will prioritise calls from PWDs, ensuring that they receive prompt and efficient assistance.

This is an essential aspect of the service, as PWDs often face a host of challenges in their daily lives and require immediate assistance in critical situations.

Nadra Chairman Tariq Malik while launching the helpline said every citizen had the right to access essential services and PWDs required special attention and support from state institutions.

He said this initiative is a reflection of Nadra’s commitment to creating a more inclusive and accessible society.

The newly launched dedicated helpline includes an appointment facility through Nadra’s Computerised Call Management System (NCCMS), allowing PWDs to schedule appointments for ID card and documents processing.

Moreover, the helpline will also provide an Interactive Voice Recording (IVR) message in both Urdu and English languages. This feature will help ensure that the service is accessible to a wider range of individuals, regardless of their language preferences or abilities.

Nadra has issued free-of-cost CNICs to more than 555,000 PWDs, including 395,000 physically challenged, 37,000 hearing impaired, 24,000 visually impaired and more than 100,000 mentally challenged persons.

On the other hand, the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has written to Nadra chairman Tariq Malik to share publications and reports on Nadra’s website to enhance public participation.

In the letter, CPDI’s Executive Director Mukhtar Ahmad Ali has expressed his appreciation for the initiatives being taken under Mr Malik’s leadership, such as the E-Health suite.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2023