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Health Issues in Pakistan

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By Mahrukh Naeem

More than 60 million Pakistanis are thought to be living in poverty. Some people struggle to even meet their most basic needs due to a lack of resources. In addition, if they receive a medical diagnosis, they have nowhere to go. In Pakistan, there are not enough local hospitals, nurses, or medical experts to provide care for everyone who lives in poverty. The provision of health care is not a top priority for the Pakistani government.
In Pakistan, there are not enough local hospitals, nurses, or doctors to provide care for everyone who lives in poverty. The Pakistani government does not place a strong priority on health care. Local hospitals have offered free medical care to the poor, but they are unable to treat a huge number of patients at once due to a shortage of financing. Patients who need surgical care at adjacent hospitals must also wait a very long time because of the waiting list.
By the time it is their turn, the patient has either passed away or gotten worse. More than 2 million unfinished processes exist in Pakistan today, and the number is growing daily. On the other hand, people living in rural areas are less aware of their condition, which makes it difficult for them to get prompt, efficient care. Multiple diseases are widespread in Pakistan, and they largely afflict the underprivileged. In the midst of this upheaval, Pakistan’s common health problems are getting worse.
The following is a list of Pakistan’s typical health issues:
Malaria
Malaria is brought on by a mosquito bite, and mosquitoes breed in contaminated water. Given how many people live in slums, malaria’s prevalence is hardly surprising. If malaria is not adequately treated, it might be fatal. Because they typically lack education and understanding, those who live in slums often use over-the-counter medications to treat their illnesses. As a result, malaria has become resistant to medication. The number of malaria cases in Pakistan is estimated to be 1.5 million per year, according to study from 2014.
Tuberculosis
The infectious disease tuberculosis (TB), which damages the lungs, is spread via coughing and sneezing.
Up to two-thirds of tuberculosis patients who receive subpar care pass away, according to the WHO. One of the prevalent health problems in Pakistan that could have long-term implications is tuberculosis.
The WHO ranked Pakistan eighth among the 22 countries having the highest incidence of TB. Over 420,000 new TB cases are reported in Pakistan each year. The Pakistani government created the National TB Control Programme (NTP) to help reduce the risk of developing tuberculosis. According to the NTP website, it provides skill development for medical professionals like paramedics and lab technicians. Under the programme, all diagnosed people can also get a free supply of anti-TB drugs.
Viral Dengue
The mosquito-borne disease known as dengue fever is carried by Aedes mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus. It is not feasible to directly transmit from one person to another.
Symptoms of the condition include a high fever, headaches, muscle pain, vomiting, and skin rashes. The flu and other viral illnesses might be mistaken for dengue fever. Dengue fever is a severe form of the virus, though, and if left untreated, it can cause life-threatening conditions like liver enlargement and circulatory system failure. During the dengue epidemic in 2011, around 250,00 suspected cases of dengue fever were reported in Pakistan.
Cancer
Cancer accounts for 8% of all fatalities in Pakistan, making it one of the most prevalent health problems. Lung and breast cancer are the two cancer forms that are most common in Pakistan.
A recent study found that approximately one in nine Pakistani women will develop breast cancer. Pakistan also has the highest rate of tobacco use in South Asia. The majority of cancer patients do not receive an accurate diagnosis until they are far along in the disease, and they typically do not have access to curative treatments. The creation of a cancer registry in 2013 that compiles data on cancer patients from around the country was a critical step towards cancer prevention and control in Pakistan. In Pakistan, 18 cancer treatment facilities were active in 2016.
Ischemia of the Heart
Ischemic heart disease causes 12.22% of annual fatalities in Pakistan. It can be recognised by its narrowed coronary arteries, which supply the heart muscle with blood.
Smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure—the three main risk factors—are all rather common in Pakistan.
Like other diseases, heart disease is brought on by an unhealthy lifestyle and a lack of knowledge. Public health initiatives and easy access to medical care can considerably reduce the prevalence of such diseases.

Stroke
Every year, Pakistan reports over 350,000 cases of stroke.
The biggest factor for stroke is high blood pressure.
People in Pakistan lack access to healthful meals. Daily gamblers or workers are unable to keep up a healthy diet. Fruits and salads are unavailable to them. They simply consume what they can.
The usage of inferior oils and ghee is the cause of Pakistan’s two most prevalent health problems: high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. Ignorance is another component that contributes to it as well.

Diabetes
Pakistan has the greatest prevalence of diabetes in South Asia, with seven million people living with the ailment. It is also a significant health concern in Pakistan. Diabetes affects how the body responds to the hormone insulin, which results in improper carbohydrate metabolism and high blood and urine glucose levels.

Blood vessels and other organs in the body can suffer damage if increased glucose levels are not controlled. The high rate of diabetes in Pakistan may be due to the unhealthful food industry. The Diabetic Institute of Pakistan (DIP) has been fighting diabetes since it was founded in 1996. DIP provides diabetes awareness initiatives in addition to pharmaceutical services for patients to raise awareness of this condition.

Hepatitis
Even though vaccines are available, Pakistan nevertheless has a high prevalence of hepatitis A and E. Hepatitis is a viral liver illness that can be spread by contaminated food or water. Safe drinking water, healthful food, improved sanitation, and handwashing are all effective ways to fight the disease in addition to the vaccine. A liver disease called hepatitis E usually gets well on its own. However, it might cause an unexpected liver failure. According to the WHO, hepatitis infection rates are highest in East and South Asia. According to reports, the Pakistani government is using every possible communication channel to educate the public about hepatitis. The government also provides patients with medications and immunisations.

Maternal and Child Health
Maternal health is one of the significant health problems in Pakistan. Women are forced to fend for themselves since they lack status and many women’s health issues are taboo. A woman’s state of health directly affects the health of her unborn child. The main contributor to diseases affecting mothers and their newborns is the absence of adequate healthcare facilities in rural and other underdeveloped areas. Neonatal problems account for 16.67% of all deaths, which is a result of this disregard for the baby’s health. The health of the mother and child is a critical issue that affects rural communities more than cities. Women in rural areas suffer during their pregnancies due to a lack of sufficient diet, education, and care.

The private sector provides services to almost 70% of the Pakistani population. Private hospitals and healthcare facilities often outperform their public counterparts in terms of overall healthcare quality and patient satisfaction. However, the majority of residents of Pakistan’s rural areas have little to no access to basic medical care and are at significant risk of contracting various illnesses.

The writer is the student of department of journalism 8 semester in Punjab University Lahore. She can be contacted ar: [email protected]

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