Pakistan has made significant progress in its fight against coronavirus, and the country has not just become self-sufficient in essential medical equipment but is also ready to export them in order to help other countries in their fight against the pandemic, said Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan’s Minister for Science and Technology.
Fawad Chaudhry pointed out that when the country’s first Covid-19 case was reported in February there was a shortage of such medical equipment and the south Asian nation was not in a position to manufacture it in enough quantities indigenously.
However, Pakistani engineers and medics took the challenge in a short span of two months, the country is ready to not just cater to local demand, but also export high-quality medical equipment to countries who most need it
Chaudhry explained how the country’s large and well-established textile industry has helped it not just become self-sufficient but also export face masks to other countries. “We have saved a lot of money in terms of import costs. The cotton masks are being exported from the country while sanitizer exports will start in a week,” he added.
Pakistan’s government withdrew duties and taxes on import of the raw cotton in January 2020, helping the industry immensely. The Ministry of Science and Technology worked with the textile industry and now we are producing 76 percent of merchandise here in Pakistan.
Personal protective gear and all kinds of masks – including N-95 masks used in operation theatres – are being manufactured here. The import cost of the mask was $7, which we are now manufacturing locally for less than $1,” the minister said.
Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) was tasked to come up with ideas of ventilators and oxygenators. Around 58 designs were received and 13 of them were shortlisted.
Now, seven designs are in the final stage of licensing. We have not compromised on their quality, and they meet European and American standards. That’s why we will be able to export them to Europe, the US or any other country,” Chaudhry said.