Appalling Plight of Health Care Sector in Pakistan

By Maira Afridi

True, Pakistan is facing multifaceted socio-economic and religio-political problems but the condition of the health care sector, in particular, is alarming. The already paltry federal health budget cannot meet the urgent requirements of the sector effectively. Intoxicating itself on the wine of myriad of socio-economic conundrums, the health care sector in Pakistan seems to be addicted from the chaos of utmost negligence, lack of resources, and poor facilities. There is a dearth of exceptional and competitive hospitals in the country. What is more worrying, the hospitals which are somehow working on modern requirements of better treatment, have proved to be very expensive and out of purchasing capacity of the poor. This state of the health sector is blowing tunes of its despicable plight. If this problems is not given an urgent attention, Pakistan will find itself on thin ice because of the gravity of threats and issues to its sovereignty.

Moreover, the poor infrastructure of government hospitals, lack of basic facilities, poor management, negligence of administration, lack of medicines, expensive medicines, a dearth of exceptional doctors, absence of doctors, and presence of quacks, etc., have played havoc with the health sector which needs stringent efforts and practicable strategies to eradicate these problems once for all. The plight of government hospitals is heart-wrenching; while private hospitals are out of reach of the poor and downtrodden strata of the country. The lack of trained and experienced doctors has further added fuel to the fire.  Fortunately, changing and ameliorating this devastating state of health sectors does not require any new statute; all it requires is the will of taking some pragmatic steps in the right direction by the government to cope with it. Unfortunately, the sensitivity required in this initiative is missing.

There is a dire need to take some stringent efforts to bring positive change in this sector and move the needle. For this, the government needs to take some pragmatic steps; such as, to allocate a handsome percentage of GDP to the health sector to tackle the problems; improving medical education, training as well as facilitating patient care; and more focus should be given to government hospitals to fix their distorted and dilapidated condition. It goes without saying that going some extra miles in the right direction, the country will see an unprecedented and miraculous change in its healthcare system. So far, the best technology-driven initiative taken by Dow University of Health Science (DUHS), Karachi, has helped to train medical professionals based in Pakistan with new techniques, modern technology, and advanced knowledge. Other such initiatives need to be taken and materialized to quench the thirst for rapid progress and development of this sector to bring to the fore a healthy and competent society. Perhaps, it will take much time as the deteriorated condition of the sector speaks volumes of negligence and apathy on the part of the government and concerned authorities; but again, nothing ventured, nothing has!

The writer is a student at Dept of Eastern Medicine, University of Balochistan

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