The government has decided to shut down the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination Dr Faisal Sultan has announced.
NCOC was established by the government as a nerve centre to synergise and articulate a unified national effort against COVID-19, and to implement the decisions of the National Coordination Committee in 2020 when the deadly virus started spreading globally.
According to Dr Faisal Sultan, the prime minister is expected to formally announce the shutting down of the NCOC by the end of next month.
He said that the responsibilities of the NCOC will be carried out by the National Institute of Health.
A monument will be installed to celebrate the success of the country in its fight against coronavirus in the last two years. According to the Health Ministry, March 27 will mark the 2nd anniversary of the establishment of the NCOC.
The National Disaster Management Authority spearheaded the initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
But on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the NCOC was established in April 2020 to collect, analyse, and process COVID-19-related data from all provinces, AJK, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Islamabad.
The NCOC is the main entity in charge of Pakistan’s national COVID-19 effort’s policies and implementation.
It also makes suggestions to the Prime Minister’s National Coordination Committee (NCC) for timely actions related to the national COVID-19 response effort.
Following his day-long visit to Pakistan in February, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates praised Pakistan’s innovative command centres, the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), in fighting diseases.
In his blog, Gates wrote: “Last week I also went to Pakistan, where I visited two of the country’s innovative command centres for fighting diseases, the NEOC for polio eradication and the NCOC for COVID.”
“The NEOC uses state-of-the-art informational tools developed by Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to track polio so that no child is ever paralysed by it again,” he added.
Meanwhile, regarding NCOC, Gates said that the centre has applied resources and lessons learned from the polio programme — including data analysis, vaccine campaign planning, and community engagement— to coordinate Pakistan’s response to COVID.
“Both centres blew me away,” the philanthropist said.