Finance Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman said on Tuesday that 50,000 people in Pakistan died due to kidney failure every year, 10,000 due to liver failure and 6,000 due to heart failure.
He was speaking to a delegation of doctors and paramedics. Rehman said the number of deaths could be reduced if people followed the international organ donation trend. The minister urged the delegation to foster public awareness about the importance of organ donation to save lives. He said that the government was committed to providing state-of-the-art healthcare facilities at the grassroots.
The minister said that the government was establishing tertiary care facilities in the Punjab to provide modern and cardiovascular healthcare services.
Rehman said that increasing the public expenditure on health to Rs121.80 billion had enabled the government to provide the underprivileged with free medicines and access to modern healthcare facilities.
He said people hailing from remote areas were being provided health services through mobile units.
The minister said Rs1 billion had been allocated for this purpose.
He said the government had earmarked Rs47.44 billion to upgrade hospitals and health facilities during the current financial year. Rehman said the government was especially focussing on providing modern health facilities to the people of South Punjab.
He said that his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government would allocate more resources towards proving quality healthcare to the underprivileged for their socioeconomic uplift.
Rehman said 40 per cent of the adult population in Pakistan suffered from one or more non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure.
He said these were showing an upward trend. The minister said this trend would double the burden of disease in the developing world and would have detrimental economic ramifications like low productivity and increased the cost of care. Rehman said heart ailments could be prevented by adopting simple lifestyle choices.
He urged the doctors to create public awareness about the need to have healthy lifestyles.
Doctors said that the liver transplant programme being run at the Shaikh Zayed Hospital was not sustainable as it was reliant on donations from live donors.
They said many lives could be saved by promoting organ donation but the families of the deceased were disinclined towards making organ donations.
They said that the Muhammad Aslam Ward in the hospital had been named after a boy killed in a traffic accident who had willed to have his liver donated.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2014.
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