Islamabad: April 7 is celebrated as World Health day worldwide. World health day provides an occasion for the countries to look at their health care system and plan accordingly to meet the millennium development goals. The status of Public health in Pakistan is at one of the lowest level in the world. Our infant mortality rate is 90/ 1000 and maternal mortality due to delivery
complications is 45/10000. One out of three babies are born with low birth weight. We are spending less than 1% of our GNP on health. Federal budget allocated 240 rupees per person for health in the previous budget. The amount of federal health budget is less than the amount of revenue collected from Tobacco companies. Hundreds of thousands of people die of preventable infectious diseases, gastric infections due to un clean water and poor nutrition. According to National Health survey one third of population above age 45 is suffering from high blood pressure, 27 % males smoke cigarette and about 10% of population is carrier of Hepatitis infection. These figures are alarming and demand an urgent approach. Death toll due to smoking alone is twice more than 2005 earthquake related death.
Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) is suggesting a six point plan to improve health care of Pakistani people by governmental and non-governmental interventions.
Spend more on health
- Overall expenditure on health has not increased in last many years (0.7% of GNP)
- Increment in 5-10% of absolute amount of health budget is not the solution.
- Allocate at least 3% of GNP (4 fold increase)
- Allocate 90 Billion out of 900 Billion Budget (10% of Federal Budget)
- Provincial governments allocate 10% budget for health.
- City governments allocate 10% for health
Focus should be changed toward primary prevention
- Mass vaccination against Hepatitis and Tetanus. Over all cost of free mass vaccination; 30 Billion rupees
- Allocate one billion each for TB and Malaria control.
- Start a National Stroke Prevention program
- Ban advertisement of cigarette smoking at all levels
- Supply of clean water be the top priority
Nutrition is important than medications
- Food and Nutrition for all pregnant and lactating women and neonates
- Food and nutrition allowance for all infants until age one year
- Allocate10 Billion rupees
- Dissemination at UC level
Strengthen basic health unit
- Functional Basic Health unit at UC level
- A post of UC health officer for each UC
- Primarily responsible for vaccination, malaria prevention, TB control and women and child nutrition program.
- Rabies control by controlling dog population
- All lady health visitors under UC health officer
- Primary focus; not family planning but over all preventive health
Improve public awareness
- Subject of Health and Hygiene in school curriculum
- Health segment in all news segments
- Allocate a few hours every day on TV and Radio for health awareness
- TV, radio and news advertising for health awareness messages at subsidized rates
- Involvement and funding of professional health societies for awareness programs
Provide Free vaccines and cheaper drugs
- Subsidized cost of life saving drugs
- Vaccine should be provided free
- Control the cost of Medications
- Quality control for local industry
- Local production of vaccines
President, Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA)