Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday unveiled its five-point policy intended to cure the dilapidated health sector of the country.
A handout given at the ceremony said the PTI is the first political party which has taken this initiative as it believes that the health sector of the country needs to be reworked to suit the poor. The existing health system ignores them and the reason behind this is that the system is made by the elite, for the elite, it said.
The ceremony, held at a local hotel, was organised by the PTI Policy Reform Unit and was attended by PTI Chief Imran Khan, Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi and a number of workers.
PTI health spokesperson Dr Humayun Mohmand said PTI conducted baseline research in which it gathered statistics from various national and international organisations. The policy had been formulated after a year-and-a-half consultative process with leading medical specialists, stakeholders and concerned organisations.
“It is unfortunate and depressing that in a country like Pakistan, poor people die just because they cannot afford treatment costs,” he said.
All that is wrong
According to the statement issued by the party, the maternal mortality rate in the country is 260 deaths per 100,000 — among the highest in the world. Unfortunately, the country remains unable to address this matter. Over 4.8 million children died in the last decade, and 58 per cent of the population remains food insecure, consuming less than 2,100 calories per day in 2011.
Besides this, Pakistan is termed as a cirrhotic state, which indicates a high burden of infectious hepatitis. It ranked sixth among 22 countries with the highest burden of tuberculosis, with around 400,000 new cases registered each year.
Around 100 million people have no access to sanitation facilities and inadequate sanitation results in increased risk of disease and mortality, leading to losses in education, productivity and time. In Pakistan 250,000 children die each year due to water-borne disease.
Moreover, only 0.8 per cent of GDP was allocated for public health in 2010-2011.
It was the PTI General Secretary Dr Yasmin Rashid, who is also a health specialist, who presented the five-point health policy.
The main focus, according to Dr Rashid, would be to increase public health funding from 0.8 per cent to 2.6 per cent GDP. Other salient features of the party comprised a proposed shift towards preventive healthcare; complete decentralisation and de-politicisation of health governance and prioritising primary healthcare. Furthermore, Dr Rashed said that the party will focus on developing a thoroughly reliable and integrated health information system for evidence-based planning and decision making.
In a five-year PTI government, the health profile of the people of Pakistan will dramatically change and healthy population across rural and urban areas will be contributing towards the building of a new Pakistan, said a party representative.
Imran Khan, the PTI head, said the health policy is a modest vision and should be made for the poor.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2012.
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