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The sorry state of health sector in Pakistan

Health sector is perhaps the most neglected sector by previous governments in Pakistan and as the new government has taken charge, lets take a look at the state of the sector in the country.

The dominant diseases in the country are parasitic, infectious and respiratory which were conquered decades ago in the western world.

Most of these diseases are endemic and in the occurrence of these diseases, water is involved in some way or other.

The average person may turn out to have one or two worm infestations and get stomach once every month or two.

Pakistan Economic Survey (PES) revealed that less than 6% of its GDP is being spent on health services since last one decade.

The cost of good services and trained doctors are so prohibitive, for a poor country, it can only be provided by the small minorities in the towns.

60% to 80% of the people in Pakistan, including the rural community have no access to modern medical services.

Health-care has to be equitably spread, the government needs to adopt a new approach to an emphasis on health care and shift from cure to prevention, from provision at privileged to the satisfaction of basic health needs of the underprivileged.

The just distribution of health resources is as important as their quantity and quality. To reach a more equitable distribution method it is important to pay greater attention to those least served, the rural center, the disease-ridden majority. The structure and implementation of primary health care services must be reviewed and implemented effectively.

The primary health services include; health care education, promotion of better nutrition, mother and child care, family planning, clean water and sanitation; prevention and control of infectious disease; provision of essential drugs; and promotion of mental health.

There is a need to introduce preventive measures at family and community level.

Giving health education to local people and rural communities it will improve livelihoods and people will be able to realize the much greater responsibility of their health on their own.

As poor health cuts a man’s ability to work and, via malnutrition, his children’s success at school, it contributes to keeping poor people in poverty, just as much as under-nourishment.

Yet so much of it is easily and cheaply achievable. It is important for policymakers to understand the emergency need for the provision of adequate and quality public education and health services to build a strong health services system for sustainable economic growth.

Allocation of budget in a specific sector is not enough and it will not bring healthy outcomes unless the specific implementation is ensured to improve spending efficiency to achieve sustainable outcomes.

No immediate funding and spending of money on infrastructure can improve the system, there is a need to enhance the standard of human capital and maintain human resources at a certain level.

Another approach to prevent health-related issues is the provision of clean water.  It helps to cut most of the diseases by at least a half and it is the cheapest way of doing so. Cost can further be cut if the participation of local people is encouraged in keeping water supplies clean. The participation also serves as an education in health principles and is often a community’s first step towards collective action gradually it also encourage the idea of self-development.

The poor people use dirty water sources because of the costly access to clean water, but any improvement in water cleaning sector is worthwhile because its impact will be greater it will improve hygiene and health of the communities in slums and underprivileged areas of Pakistan.

The government can also introduce self-help methods through awareness and campaigns of cleaning water and improving sanitation.

The children in slum areas are far from sanitation and cleaning hands process. Their messy homes and dirty living style transmit diseases.

The government needs to organize sanitation programs and other campaigns for health education which would also involve these affected communities for the sake of self-development and sustainability.

The poor suffer predominantly from the negligence of public hospitals and lack of modern medicines technology in the public sector.

Thus the new government needs to adopt an effective and efficient approach to transforming the public health sector for the sake of achieving sustainable development in Pakistan.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not represent ARY policies or opinion.