Govt fails to re­form the health sec­tor

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Min­is­ter of State for Na­tional Health Ser­vices, Regulation and Co­or­di­na­tion, Saira Afzal Tarar on Tues­day vis­ited the em­ploy­ees of Na­tional In­sti­tute of Health (NIH) and promised to solve the prob­lems of the health sec­tor grad­u­ally. Speak­ing at the cer­e­mony or­ga­nized by NIH Work­ers Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion, she as­sured that steps are be­ing taken for im­prov­ing the ser­vice struc­ture of the em­ploy­ees in de­part­ments of the Health Min­istry as well as Na­tional In­sti­tute of Health.

While the govern­ment of­fi­cials keep re­mind­ing of their com­mit­ments to elim­i­nate the ob­sta­cles en­com­pass­ing the health sec­tor, ef­fec­tive and con­struc­tive poli­cies in this spec­trum re­main fig­men­tal. Un­for­tu­nately, the na­tional as­sem­bly and se­nate ap­prove the bud­get of Pak­istan ev­ery year with­out much ques­tion­ing or crit­i­cism. Ap­par­ently, the bud­get 2014-15 fig­ures do not com­ple­ment the prom­ises made by the govern­ment and present a dif­fer­ent view of the govern­ment's pri­or­i­ties, that are far from be­ing poor­friendly.

Ac­cord­ing to the bud­get 2014-15 sta­tis­tics, the education and health sec­tors also did not re­ceive their due share. An amount of Rs74.031 bil­lion was ear­marked for both sec­tors, show­ing an in­crease of only 1.5% com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year, which is in­signif­i­cant con­sid­er­ing the pop­u­la­tion growth and in­fla­tion hov­er­ing around 9%.Of the amount of Rs74 bil­lion, only 13.5% goes to the health sec­tor.

On the other hand, un­der pil­lar one of the Vi­sion 2025, the govern­ment promised that a larger share of the gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP), at least 4% to education and at least 3% to health, would be al­lot­ted to th­ese sec­tors. The aim is to achieve uni­ver­sal pri­mary education with 100% net pri­mary en­rol­ment, ex­pan­sion of higher education cov­er­age from 7% to 12% and in­crease in the pro­por­tion of pop­u­la­tion with ac­cess to im­proved san­i­ta­tion from 38% to 90%.

How­ever, re­source al­lo­ca­tion does not show any political will to pri­or­i­tize hu­man de­vel­op­ment. In its cur­rent shape, Pak­istan is the em­bod­i­ment of a se­cu­rity state where hu­man de­vel­op­ment barely at­tracts at­ten­tion. It is stated in a study by the WHO (World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion) that for ev­ery doc­tor avail­able in Pak­istan there are 1,250 pa­tients who need treat­ment, for ev­ery bed of hos­pi­tal there are 1,666 can­di­dates of the hurt and the sick and there is 1 den­tist for ev­ery 10,000 Pak­ista­nis.

Fol­low­ing this, it does not come as a sur­prise that Pak­istan ranks eighth on the list of "High Bur­den Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis Coun­tries", has a high in­ci­dence of Malaria, HIV, Hep­ati­tis A and E, Dengue Fever, Bac­te­rial Di­ar­rhea, Typhoid and so many other dis­eases. How­ever, the prob­lems with the pro­vi­sion of med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties re­main nu­mer­ous and the cit­i­zens of Pak­istan are de­prived of their health rights.

Pol­icy Re­search In­sti­tute of Mar­ket Econ­omy (PRIME) Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Ali Sal­man said that the present govern­ment has so far shied away from re­forms it promised be­fore elec­tions. In or­der to upgrade the health sec­tor very cru­cial at­ten­tion and steps needs to be taken by govern­ment, pub­lic and pri­vate health sec­tors and by com­mu­nity peo­ple. Govern­ment should give keen at­ten­tion to­wards al­lo­cat­ing the health re­source ac­cord­ing to the prin­ci­ple of equity. It should not be di­rected to­wards ur­ban pop­u­la­tion only but ru­ral ar­eas should also get ac­cess to qual­ity health care ser­vices in or­der to im­prove their health sta­tus.

Ad­vi­sor to Chair­man Pak­istan Tehreek-eIn­saf Dr Yas­min Rashid has said low al­lo­ca­tion of GDP on health fa­cil­i­ties has proven the anti-poor poli­cies of the govern­ment. On the other hand an un­bri­dled 35 per cent in­crease in medicine prices ex­posed the cruel ap­proach of the in­cum­bent rulers to­wards the masses. Fo­cus­ing on the golden rule of "Health is wealth", the govern­ment of Pak­istan should take ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures for the bet­ter­ment of health fa­cil­i­ties in Pak­istan. There should be strong poli­cies with ac­cu­rate im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.