Health and education - still basic, vital issues in Balochistan.


Byline: Syed Fazl-E-Haider

Last year, Balochistan government led by Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan decided to impose health and education emergency in the province. The government declared that establishing boys' and girls' schools in every union council of the province is mandatory. It also decided to take strict action against absentee doctors who were not performing duty on the places of their appointment. It was decided that an apex committee headed by the chief minister would be set up in the health department to make decisions about devolution of powers in the department up to lower level. It also approved requirement of doctors on contract bases for primary health care.

The provincial government is giving special focus on education and health sectors in proposal of Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) financial year for provision of better facilities to public in province. The government plans to expand nursing schools and colleges across province for ensuring provision of health and education opportunities of relief to masses at districts level.

The state of health care in the province as revealed by Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2018 portrays a gloomy picture. The survey report reveals that "only 56 per cent of the women in Balochistan receive antenatal care from a skilled provider and only 38 per cent of the births in Balochistan are assisted by a skilled care provider. Almost every second child (over 47 percent) in Balochistan is stunted and less than one-third of children in the province are likely to receive all basic vaccinations."

Major causes of water-related diseases include lack of water supply and sanitation facilities, absence of proper sewerage disposal, waste mismanagement and contaminated water. Malaria, Typhoid, Hepatitis, gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders are common in the province. These diseases can be prevented by facilitating the population with proper sewerage and sanitation disposal systems. In rural areas, the health status is relatively poor. Lack or absence of female health staff including female doctors in rural areas worsen the situation. In rural Balochistan, the health status is relatively poor.

According to an estimate, there is only one doctor available for 7300 persons in average. An amount of Rs18 billion had been allocated for health sector in the Balochistan budget 2017-18 which had a five percent increase than the past year.

Though health sector in Balochistan remained the...

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