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Alumnus contributing to improved healthcare and development outcomes across Balochistan

Posted: 19 June 2024


After working in the Government of Balochistan’s Health Department for many years, Abdullah Khan was eager to pursue his passion for understanding public policy formulation and implementation.

Consequently, he applied for an Australia Awards Scholarship to equip himself with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in this area. With the support of his Scholarship, he completed a Master of Public Policy from the Australian National University in 2011.

“My Scholarship provided an atmosphere of learning, where I could meet students from different parts of the world,” Abdullah says. “It helped me not only with academic enrichment, but also to develop international networks. I found Australia to be a multicultural country, where people from different cultures and backgrounds could find a rich and enabling environment for growth and development.”

After completing his studies, Abdullah returned to Pakistan and applied for a position at Save the Children as the Director of Integrated Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. The knowledge and skills he gained through his master’s degree helped give him an edge in competing for this position, and he was hired. Abdullah worked tirelessly to improve access to and availability of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health services by upgrading and improving primary health facilities and by establishing fully equipped labour rooms, secondary level heath facilities and proper referral systems. In two years, the project achieved excellent results in improving healthcare services for the communities in the province. Seeing this success, the Government of Balochistan’s Health Department replicated the model in all the districts in the province through its own program.

Abdullah (far left) with classmates at the Australian National University.

In 2014, Abdullah rejoined the government, where he was promoted to grade 19 officer and was posted as Additional Secretary of the Health Department. Under his leadership, the department established three new medical colleges and one institute for kidney diseases. It also increased vaccination prevalence and nutrition awareness in the area and improved overall mother and child health.

In addition, Abdullah’s work led to the launch of the Balochistan Institute of Nephrology and Urology, a state-of-the-art institute where kidney transplants were performed for the first time in Balochistan, as well as more routine services.

Today, working as the Secretary of the Implementation Planning and Development Department of the Government of Balochistan, Abdullah is proud to have contributed to and implemented three development budgets in Balochistan for infrastructure, production and social services.

Abdullah (far right) with his lecturers at the Australian National University.

“Due to lack of resources and information, healthcare and development is still a huge crisis in Pakistan. The upcoming youth of Pakistan need to focus on the physical and mental wellbeing of the nation,” Abdullah says.

“There is no better avenue [to do so] than the Australia Awards experience, where we can learn from the best practices of the country and implement our knowledge for the betterment of those that need it most.”