The Health Department is planning to launch two special programmes to improve health facilities in the south Punjab.
Punjab Health Reforms Programme Director Doctor Amjad Shehzad announced this at a workshop on “Protecting Pakistan’s Poor against Health Shocks in Disasters” on Saturday.
He said a survey of 6,000 households in the south Punjab revealed that poor households had little access to private doctors. The survey cited money as a barrier for the poor to healthcare.
He said another important fact was that although the floods affected all of south Punjab, the poor still faced health issues. Giving the example of the response to dengue fever, he said the Health Department had the capacity to respond to all types of emergencies and disasters.
He said a detailed analysis of the Pakistan Social Living Measurements Survey (PSLMS) data showed an improvement in health services both in the districts affected by floods and those not affected.
“ The floods did not affect access to pre and postnatal care. The data also does not show an increase in expenditures for healthcare, which proves that the health response to the disaster was adequate,” he said.
Dr Shehzad said that despite an overall progress in access to maternal health services, the level of healthcare service delivery remained low, particularly for women seeking postnatal care within six weeks of delivery.
He said the flood-affected districts also showed a consistently lower level of service utilisation for antenatal care and postnatal care.
He said that the government was working on health sector reforms and had prepared a detailed strategy to supplement the ongoing efforts of the Health Department.
He said the funds to support this initiative had been provided by the Rapid Social Response (RSR) programme with the support of Russia, Norway, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2012.
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