In Pakistan, health remains a forgotten priority

Published: June 4, 2011
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Devolution contributed; weak system set to 
get weaker.

Devolution contributed; weak system set to get weaker.

ISLAMABAD: 

The government has allocated Rs18.41 billion for health sector projects in the federal budget for 2011-12 for the Planning and Development Division. The projects will be executed by Planning Division after the devolution of the Health Ministry under there 18th amendment.

A substantial allocation of Rs2.281 billion has been made for the maternal, neonatal and child health programme. According to the Economic Survey 2010-11, the infant mortality rate is 63.3 per thousand and the maternal mortality rate is 89 per thousand.

An amount of Rs507.035 million has been set aside for population welfare, Rs8 billion for family planning and primary health care, Rs2.716 billion for the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), Control of Diarrheal Disease (CDD), National Institute of Health (NIH), Rs246.932 million for Enhanced HIV/AIDS Control Programme, Rs123.46 million for the malaria and tuberculosis control programme, Rs246.93 million has been allocated for prevention and control of blindness, Rs37 million for prevention and control of influenza, Rs600 million for prevention and control of hepatitis, and Rs81 million for strengthening TB control programme by ensuring uninterrupted drugs supplies among others.

Pakistan is a signatory to numerous international development strategies, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and commitment to achieve reduction in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) by 2015.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are an estimated 4 million people in the country exposed to hepatitis B and about 8 million to hepatitis C virus.

The survey reveals that the total outlay of health is budgeted at Rs42 billion (Rs18.7 billion development and Rs23.3 billion current expenditure), which is equivalent to 0.23 per cent of GDP, against Rs79 billion in 2009-10.

However at present, there are 972 hospitals, 4,842 dispensaries, 5,344 basic health units and 909 maternity and child health centres in Pakistan with availability of 144,901 doctors, 10,508 dentists, 73,244 nurses and 104,137 hospital beds in the country by 2010-11, the population and health facilities ratio works out at 1,222 persons per doctors, 16,854 persons per dentist and 1701 persons per hospital bed which compares well with the other developing countries.

During 2010-11, 35 basic health units and 13 rural health centres have been constructed, while 40 rural health centres and 850 basic health units have been upgraded. Some 4,500 doctors, 400 dentists, 3,200 nurses and 5,000 paramedics have completed their academic courses.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Saadia Ch.
    Jun 4, 2011 - 3:44PM

    Very nice report on health issues. Government has to allocate sufficient budget in this sector. Like other budget heads, health carries equal importance and we cannot afford to have a nation of sick people.Recommend

  • Aaeisha Qureshi
    Jun 21, 2011 - 1:54PM

    **Scarce Resources with less options
    A country with this situation and fighting wars for others . How can we go for MDG with this much budget? one thing is to bring our growth rate down. But allocation shows the priority. we have to priorities our issues and redirect our resources to achieve HEALTH FOR ALL. EDUCATION & HEALTH are the main sectors investment on which can lead to development. Unnecessary expenditure should be cut down and rulers should look at them and their offices for this purpose.Human Resource is being wasted without education and skill and sick and diseased people can not have healthy thinking and acts.Recommend

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