Health Care In Pakistan Issues And Remedies
Pakistan is one of the most populated countries in the world with the population of around 200 million people. The confirmation of this population is expected at the end of this year as the decision has been taken by the government of Pakistan under the orders of the Supreme Court. This huge population is almost equally disbursed in the urban and rural areas. This opinion has been built after the recent surveys and researches, although according to 1998 census, the rural population is more than 60%.
After the 18th amendment and awarding NFC awards to the provinces, the social sectors like security, sanitation, education and health sectors have been transferred to the provinces. Now it is the responsibility of the provincial governments to improve these sectors according to their requirements. The federal government gives the due share of these social sectors in the NFC awards, but factually, 1.5 of the total budget is spent on the issues like sanitation and health which is lower according to international laws and standards.
The health sector in Pakistan is under a great pressure as there is a lack of funding in this sector in all eras, whether these were the dictators’ periods or the elected government. It is also observed that the bad sanitary conditions, dirty drinking water and bad quality of food items are also developing pressure on the hospitals, basic health units and private doctors. To make the health of the people improved, there is a need of proper strategy and sufficient supply of funds in this sector to make it according to the world standards.
The Availability of Stagnant and Deplorable Water
The first major issue regarding the health sector is the availability of stagnant and deplorable water, and all the governments in Pakistan have no concerns. To provide clean and healthy water to the people of Pakistan, the federal and provincial governments must concentrate on clear water projects. Although, there is some activity in Punjab province for providing clean water, but it is very small and the projects are on a back burner. It is the responsibility of the provincial governments to take initiatives and federal government should facilitate the provinces in providing expertise, skills and fund according to the requirements of the provinces.
The Deficiency of Doctors
Another issue which is devastating at the moment is the deficiency of doctors in Pakistan. It is a fact that Punjab is the most developed province of the country and the facilities and services are better. But on the other hand, the facts are hilarious when we see the number of doctors, which are being produced in a year. There are only 1400 doctors who come in the field to serve the people of Punjab but when we talk about the newborn babies in this province, there are 70,000 babies are coming into this world. The situation is even worse in other provinces so there is a need of progressive approach and efficient strategies to give doctors to all the people of all classes in all the provinces.
Medical Facilities and Infrastructure
When we talk about the infrastructure and facilities which are being provided to the people of Pakistan, there is no development and progress, especially in the rural areas where basic health units are not fully equipped with the instruments, equipment, doctors and other medical staff. When we talk about cities, there are hospitals but the availability of doctors is not ensured.
Although, there is an improvement in the hospital of the major cities all over Pakistan, but the reality is that these hospitals are not enough for such a huge population so therefore, there is a great rush in these hospitals and people complain about the medical facilities. There is a need of new hospitals not only in all major cities of the country but also make sure to provide these facilities even in small cities, towns and even villages right now.
Another major issue which should be considered on a priority basis is the communication gap in between the doctors and patients. It is very difficult to find the specialist doctors in the present situation even in the developed cities of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. The availability of doctor is a hectic task and people love to know the experts of medical field. There is a need of bridging this gap in Pakistan and it is Marham who took the initiative and developed an online network where the patients and their relatives can find out those doctors who are serving the people in different diseases. Marham is a privately owned company so the scope can be smaller but if governments may take the initiative to provide this facility, it will give a great boost to health sector in Pakistan. This sector is suffering and bleeding at the moment due to lack of interest. It was developed to serve the people but is not working accordingly.
Forecasting the future of health sector in Pakistan by following great practices internationally is the task of the governments of all provinces and federation which must be ignored now. It is due to the fact that the population is increasing at a rapid speed and it is the responsibility of the governments to facilitate all those people of rural and urban areas without any difference medically and hygienically. If it is achieved, we can be able to see ourselves in the list of those countries where social sectors are developed and improving on a regular basis.