Conserving Human Capital
The Pakistani population has a lot of potential. Efforts for providing a conducive environment to help promote sound mental and physical health are imperative for a healthy and productive nation.
Health plays a key role in determining the quality of human capital. Better health improves the efficiency and productivity of the labor force and ultimately contributes to economic growth and human welfare. However, successive governments in Pakistan seem to have missed out on this core issue of national progress.
The latest Economic Survey of Pakistan (2010-2011) paints a bleak picture of the health sector. Spending on health remained abysmally low and declined as a percentage of GDP. Total public sector expenditure on health, for both the federal as well as provincial governments combined, in this past fiscal year was 0.54 percent of the GDP.
The year also saw a decline in health expenditures to Rs. 42 billion from Rs. 79 billion the previous year, a reduction of 0.23 per cent of GDP. This is contrary to the progressive increase in the health budget over the past several years, with Rs. 24.3 billion being spent in 2000-01 and Rs. 79 billion in 2009-10.
The numbers come as a surprise if one considers a number of vertical and horizontal programs regarding health facilities that are operative in Pakistan. These include: