Pakistan vow to uplift national healthcare system. New data released by the Pakistan Economic Survey (PES) seems to indicate a marginal improvement in the public health sector through declines in Infant Mortality Rates (IMRs) and the number of births at the hands of skilled personnel. This was a problem that had gone neglected for far too long so such developments are worth celebrating and expanding upon.
The initial change in the approach towards the health sector came when the provision of healthcare became the mandate of the provincial governments. This meant that each province embarked upon projects and schemes in accordance to their own needs. Furthermore, the government supported programmes like the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) to further ensure that the healthcare system in Pakistan was fit for the masses.
A gradual increase in the budget—from Rs.421.8 billion to 482.3 billion—enabled the authorities to enhance accessibility and improve upon the quality of services offered. With a larger budget, hospitals are able to employ a larger workforce, offer diverse services, buy new and updated equipment and can cover the costs of maintenance. The longer we facilitate this, the better the public health will be.
Currently, the PES showed a decline in IMR from 62.1 to 55.7 deaths per 1000 live births. Similarly, the neonatal mortality rate dropped from 45.2 to 41.2 deaths per 1000 live births. This essentially means that finally, our authorities are prioritising paediatrics to protect the health of our children.
Mothers are also being looked out for through ensuring that the process of birth is as safe as possible. The only matter that remains is expanding such efforts to other areas within and outside of paediatrics. If we can make such progress through spending only 1.2 percent of our GDP on healthcare, then conforming to WHO’s recommended 5 percent allocation will usher in a new era for medicine in Pakistan.
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