Health and socioeconomic prosperity have been shown to be favorably correlated in human populations on every continent worldwide, both in contemporary times and going back at least several centuries. Health and socioeconomic prosperity are mutually beneficial. In the majority of situations, the relationship develops very early on and endures throughout the length of a person’s existence.
Health has therefore continued to be the government’s main concern because it is an essential component of human development and can have a significant impact on the socioeconomic prosperity of the people in a nation like Pakistan. A healthy population is a nation’s greatest resource and contributes effectively to its economic and social development. Despite significant advancements over the years, Pakistani citizens continue to face a number of health-related issues, including bad living circumstances, widespread malnutrition, and restricted access to medical services. These issues are long delayed and need immediate treatment.
Health Issues In Pakistan
The provision of sufficient healthcare to Pakistan’s people is fraught with difficulty. This problem is exacerbated by a number of factors, such as inadequate financing for healthcare, inadequate facilities and tools, a lack of trained medical personnel, inadequate health education, and unequal division of resources.
The dearth of money for healthcare is one of the biggest problems. Pakistan’s budget only devotes a tiny part to health, which leaves the industry short on resources. This means that the populace, especially in rural regions, does not have access to enough hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities to satisfy their requirements.
Pakistan invests only 2% of its GDP on health, compared to other developing nations that devote a substantial percentage of their GDPs to maintaining and enhancing healthcare. The government even failed to establish a National Health Policy to keep uniformity after the 18th constitutional amendment was promulgated, which transferred the distribution of healthcare services to provincial governments.
The lack of competent medical personnel is another problem. There aren’t many physicians, nurses, or other healthcare workers in Pakistan, and most of them live in cities. This means that access to healthcare services is frequently poor for those living in distant and secluded regions.
According to statistics, there are currently not enough public treatment centres in the nation to accommodate the 220 million people who live there. Additionally, ineffective government policies combined with unfounded worries led to a scarcity of medical equipment, beds, and paramedical employees in Pakistan’s public institutions, as well as a shortage of drugs and medical professionals.
Additionally, especially in rural regions, there is a lack of general awareness of health problems. Many people don’t recognise the value of preventative treatment, and they might wait until their situation has gotten seriously bad before they seek medical attention.
Incompetent Public Health Policies:
Both policy scholars and policy officials are unable to conduct an efficient policy analysis in Pakistan because there are no clear rules for doing so. The rate of brain drain in Pakistan is rising daily as a result of militancy and economic problems. Millions of educated Pakistanis have emigrated to other developed nations in the past ten years. One should understand that policy analysis is a hotly debated notion; estimating resources, culture, values, and power groups all obstruct the creation of a transparent policy analysis, and scholars feel more irritated as a result of this intricate policy discourse analysis. There are no specific guidelines for health policy frameworks in Pakistan; Gilson et al. 2 have proposed stages heuristic framework, policy triangle, and network framework.
Impact On Socio-Economic Sphere
The economy of Pakistan is significantly impacted by the country’s subpar health services and infrastructure. The following are some ways that this problem may have an impact on Pakistan’s economic progress and growth:
Decreased productivity: People who are unwell are less apt to be effective workers. This may lead to decreased economic production and lost wages, which would eventually have an effect on the whole economy. People may need to take time off of work in order to obtain healthcare or receive therapy for diseases, which can further decrease output.
Higher healthcare expenses: Inadequate medical services can raise healthcare costs. People may delay until their situation worsens if they cannot obtain preventative care or therapy for illnesses, which can lead to higher healthcare expenses. Health is considered to be an input rather than an outcome (such as life expectancy or the adult survival rate) (health expenditure).
Decreased foreign investment: Pakistan’s subpar healthcare services may also deter foreign investment. Investor reluctance to place their money in a nation with a subpar healthcare system may have an effect on the economy. Concerns about Pakistan’s healthcare facilities and services may also discourage travelers, which would hurt the country’s tourism sector.
Pakistan needs to priorities investments in the healthcare system, increase access to high-quality healthcare services, and put a strong emphasis on preventative care in order to resolve the economic effect of inadequate healthcare facilities. This will necessitate ongoing funding and an emphasis on enhancing population-wide health results. It was already stated that poverty increases the likelihood of bad health, which leads to death, which lowers economic productivity.
The recommendation is to make sure that resources are distributed equally. In order to include the impoverished in the growth process, they must have access to economic, social, and political freedom. The prevalence of poverty and changes in the state of poverty have frequently been linked to health. Unfortunately, the Pakistani government was unable to set aside an adequate quantity of money to fight diseases that are linked to health. The government should establish an obligatory health insurance programme that initially only applied to low-wage workers and some government employees before being progressively extended to include the vast majority of the people.
Amina Tariq is a student of Public Policy at National Defence University Islamabad. She currently represents NDU at different platforms including Youth Organization Pakistan and has been a member of EQUIP PAKISTAN for 5 years.