Changes needed to improve the health system.


The health indicators of Pakistan have shown improvement in the last 25 years despite various social, economic, political and cross-border challenges compounded through successive natural catastrophes but still, the country lags behind in the development of the sector as compare some regional countries' growth.

According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan, health sector allocation under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the fiscal year 2022-2023 is Rs 22,356.5 million, which is 2.8 per cent of the total development budget (Rs 800,000 million) and 0.05 per cent of GDP. There are 62 health sector projects in the PSDP 2022-23 and under which 43 projects are being sponsored through National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSRandC) with a total estimated cost of Rs 124,045.08 million.

Pakistan is presently the sixth most populous country globally, with two-thirds of its population is below the age of 30, making it among the world's youngest nations. It is among eight countries that will account for greater than half the rise in global population by 2050.

Burden of disease

There are also reports, Pakistan is facing a double burden of disease (BoD), while the poor segments are much higher under these pressure in the country. However, many of these situations can be controlled at comparatively low-cost interventions and best practices by primary and secondary care levels. Maternal health issues, communicable diseases and under-nutrition dominate and constitute about half of the BoD. Respiratory illness and diarrhoea remained the chief killers in young children.

Our country is one of the three remaining states where polio is still endemic and furthermore, endemicity of hepatitis B and C in the general population with 7.6 per cent affected individuals; the 5th highest tuberculosis burden globally has a focal geographical area of malaria endemicity, and an established HIV concentration among high-risk groups.

Pakistan in South Asia has one of the highest prevalence of underweight children. In mothers and children similarly stunting, micronutrient deficiencies and low birth weight babies contribute to already high level of mortality. Non-communicable diseases along with injuries and mental health issues, now constitute other half of the BoD, causing far more disabilities and premature deaths among an economically productive adult age group. Of the total BoD injuries account for greater...

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