A total of 70 pharmaceutical and healthcare-related companies -- 39 from Turkey and 31 from Pakistan -- are participating in the expo, inaugurated by Shehbaz Sharif, chief minister of Punjab province, with the capital in Lahore. Turkish parliamentarian Burhan Kayaturk also attended the inaugural ceremony.

The event, which will continue through Sept. 30, is jointly organized by the Pakistan-Turkey Health Forum and the Punjab government.

“This is the largest health expo ever held in the country, and is aimed at further increasing the ongoing cooperation between the two countries in the health sector, and marshalling Turkey’s experience in the healthcare sector,” Yadullah Ali, Punjab’s deputy health secretary and pointman for the expo, told Anadolu Agency.

Turkey’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (TITCK) will share with Pakistani health officials successful applications in Turkey’s healthcare transformation process, especially licensing, ITS, UTS licensing, and e-prescription, according to the organizers.

In remarks at the opening, Sharif thanked Turkey’s Health Ministry for its cooperation on the expo, which he called another sign of growing cooperation between the two countries, especially in the health sector.

“We are already engaged in a number of joint ventures with the Turkish government in health, education, energy and other sectors. And this cooperation will further grow in the years to come,” Shehbaz, the younger brother of former Premier Nawaz Sharif, was quoted as saying by local Geo TV.

In 2014, the Turkish government gave as a gift to Pakistan the Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital, located in the Muzaffargarh district, some 380 kilometers (236 miles) from Lahore. Starting with 60 beds, it currently has 100, with plans to expand to 500.

The hospital provides free healthcare to all patients irrespective of their backgrounds.

The Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital Trust is also running the management of four hospitals in the outskirts of Lahore, and two major blood transfusion centers in the Multan and Bahawalpur districts under an agreement with the Punjab government signed in April last.

Turkey's health ministry is already assisting the Punjab government with the establishment of an electronic hospital information system in the provincial hospitals.

Anadolu Agency