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HomeHealthHealth in Pakistan : challenges and progress

Health in Pakistan : challenges and progress

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By Nimra Arshad

Healthcare in Pakistan is a critical issue that demands attention due to its impact on the overall well-being and prosperity of the nation. With a population of over 220 million, the country faces numerous challenges in providing accessible and affordable healthcare to its citizens. Pakistan’s healthcare infrastructure is unevenly distributed, with rural areas facing a shortage of healthcare facilities, medical professionals, and essential medicines. This lack of access impedes early diagnosis and treatment, leading to preventable deaths and health complications. The country struggles with a high burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. Infectious diseases, in particular, pose a significant threat to public health, with occasional outbreaks causing considerable challenges for the healthcare system. Pakistan’s public spending on healthcare remains low, resulting in inadequate funding for healthcare facilities, research, and training programs for medical professionals. The lack of financial investment hampers the development of a robust and comprehensive healthcare system. Health disparities are prevalent in Pakistan, with impoverished communities experiencing a higher prevalence of diseases and limited access to medical services. Socioeconomic factors, such as poverty and education, significantly impact health outcomes in the country. Progress in Healthcare: Over the years, Pakistan has made significant progress in expanding immunization programs, aiming to protect children from preventable diseases like polio, measles, and diphtheria. The efforts to eradicate polio have shown promising results, with a substantial decrease in reported cases. Efforts to improve maternal and child health have seen some success, with increased access to antenatal care, skilled birth attendants, and nutrition programs. The implementation of the Lady Health Worker program has played a vital role in reaching remote areas with essential healthcare services. The government has launched health insurance initiatives like the Sehat Sahulat Program, aiming to provide health coverage to vulnerable and marginalized populations. These programs aim to reduce the financial burden of healthcare expenses on families and improve access to medical services. Pakistan is investing in medical education and research, encouraging the training of more healthcare professionals and the establishment of research institutions. This step is crucial for developing a skilled workforce and improving the overall quality of healthcare services. The state of health in Pakistan remains a complex challenge, with the need for substantial improvements in healthcare access, infrastructure, and funding. However, significant progress has been made in tackling some of the most pressing health issues, including immunization, maternal and child health, and the development of national health insurance programs. Continued efforts from the government, healthcare professionals, and civil society are essential to overcome the existing challenges and ensure a healthier and more prosperous future for the people of Pakistan.

The writer is a student of BS Journalism Studies, 8 Semester at University of the Punjab, Lahore. She can be reached at [email protected]

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