Pakistan’s Rural Health Policy Appraisal over the Years


Policies are a set of instructions of legal procedures that promulgate any necessities needed for the citizens of a state. Health Policies are vital to any nation to ensure the well-being of their citizens. Health is a necessity. Being that it is crucial that the design mechanism of the health policies is in a way that help the citizens considering the implementation mechanism since the beginning of the policy being executed. The implementation is an important aspect of the policy that demonstrates the intent coming from the state and the results generated from those policies. The three entities involved in all health policies are the state, health providers including private and public sectors, and the citizens. In the case of Pakistan, there exists a gap that persists in the health provision of the urban sector with its rural sector. According to a report by the World Bank, in 2019, Pakistan has a rural population of 63.09%, which means that more than half of the population is situated in rural setups. Being a developing country, health is one of the core areas of concern for Pakistan.

Pakistan’s latest health policy drives from 2016 to 2025 with a vision claiming to provide better and quality health services especially for women and children aligned with the SDGs to consummate the margin within the inclusiveness of global health goals. According to the Health Policy of Pakistan, the health provision responsibility has been divided provincially, whereas the Federal government covers the responsibility of national calling such as fund accumulation, glancing unto other national health matters and the educational drives. The policy provides statements about the health policies being carried out to have an effective delivery mode and outreach for the people of Pakistan. The management of these health provisions are fostered by the provincial authorities, whereas the federal government oversees the all-embracing and rather comprehensive strategies involved in the direction of the implementation of the strategies provided, ensuring accessibility to every citizen of the country. Some of the core values and design of the policy is the emphasis on consolidated and combined foresight, consistency in taking out the strategies, integration and coordination, and a vision for fostering in the direction of attaining SDGs. According to the latest policy, the budget spending on the health sector will be increased 3% from GDP along with advancement towards the universal health coverage. Another important factor introduced is the provision of numerous ranges of competencies of human resources keeping intact the management for deliverance and responsiveness. The introduction of HR databases will develop the monitoring and evaluation agenda keeping a track record of accountability. Further mentions comprising of ingenuous technologies, consistent implementation and approach, awareness and information provision make the policy a strong element. Despite the rationale, the services in the rural areas are poor and deemed as low due to which majority of the people from the rural areas must travel to urban areas in order to attain the health services.

Adversity has always been the fate of Pakistan. Despite the challenges that Pakistan has faced historically with the overall governance structure, the government has implemented several strategies to improve the health quality in rural areas. But the health conditions remain stagnant. The health service system of Pakistan is in a complicated and challenging state to achieve the third goal of SDGs that is the ensuring well-being for all. Being a vastly agricultural state, the rural sector of Pakistan is a pivotal sector as most of the economy depends on the production of its agriculture. But the poor conditions of the rural area have created barriers for economic attainment as well. The developmental progress of Pakistan has been sluggish and not harnessed to the country’s potential, despite being enthroned with natural resources. By 2016, Pakistan entered the world list of third-highest rate of Infant mortality. The majority of the rural sectors are deprived of local hospitals and clinics with no accessibility options too. By 2018, Pakistan has set to top off in 8 health issues, namely, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis A, B,C, Dengue fever, Heart Diseases, Stroke, Cancer, Diabetes and Malaria. Concerning the accessibility of the health services, it is not a problem in the bigger cities even though the services themselves are poor. However, in the rural areas, there is a problem of inaccessibility, residing far away from the centres. The major concern of Pakistan, comprising mostly of the impoverished, is the lack of accessibility to these health facilities.

An interrogation lies within the governmental structures whirling around their internal issues or rather inquiry about personal interests. The public health sector of Pakistan consists of 10,000 facilities inclusive of primary, secondary, and tertiary health care.

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