Pakistan is home to 182 million people, making it the sixth most populous nation in the world. With the highest population growth rate in South Asia, 35% of its population is under the age of 15. As in many developing countries, wealth and health are unequally distributed in Pakistan. Health indicators are particularly poor for women and children.
A major challenge facing Pakistan’s health sector is the imbalance in the health workforce characterised by a lack of sufficient health professionals from managers, nurses, paramedics to skilled birth attendants. The rapid increase in the number of medical colleges, mostly in the private sector, has improved the doctor-to-population ratio to a certain extent. Problems are compounded however, as medical graduates tend to concentrate in the major cities while a large number of trained health personnel migrate internationally.
The link between poverty and health is well established worldwide, but the connection is both direct (lack of access to health services) and indirect (lack of awareness about health-related issues). Poverty helps produce ailments and ill-health pushes people towards poverty. It is a vicious cycle. Socio-economic conditions create situations that can lead to ill-health. Health emergencies can cost individuals and families, dearly aggravating poverty. A World Bank study found out that approximately four percent of the population in Pakistan falls into poverty due to health shocks each year.
Poverty has a strong relationship with mental health. Stress, anxiety, and depression are frequently reported ailments that are linked to poverty. The number of people seeking psychological care has increased during the last several years.
It seems that the Pakistani state has been pursuing regressive policies. David Bloom and David Canning reported that poor health could facilitate social breakdown. A 1998 study commissioned by the CIA found that the best model for predicting a state’s failure is based on high levels of infant mortality, low openness to trade, and a low level of democracy. Societal conditions are strongly connected to the health of people; a harmonious and supportive society can bring health and happiness for people. In turn, “health is essential to building strong societies. The importance of a socially-based understanding of health is essential for improving health of populations” (Bloom & Canning 2001:6).
Pakistan is going through an epidemiological transition where it faces the double burden of communicable diseases combined with maternal and perinatal conditions, and chronic, non-infectious diseases. The landscape of public health service delivery presents an uneven distribution of resources between rural and urban areas. The rural poor are at a clear disadvantage in terms of primary and tertiary health services. They also fail to benefit fully from public programs such as the immunization of children. Following the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the health sector has been devolved to the provinces, but the distribution of responsibilities and sources of revenue generation between the tiers remains unclear.
It is imperative for the Pakistan Government to support health charities like Al Mustafa Welfare Trust® help tackle the country’s abysmal child and maternal health indicators. Maternal mortality needs to be addressed carefully by increasing the number of skilled health service providers such as female doctors and LHW’s in rural areas. These workers should also focus on disseminating awareness of family planning services and supplies.
[Source: Harvard International Review][/Source:]
Rural Health Statistics
AMWT® Free Health Training Programme
Al-Mustafa Welfare Trust® Health Training Programme has been set-up to provide vital training to health professionals in rural areas of Sindh, Punjab and KPK.
The programme involves a team of qualified doctors and paramedical staff of AMWT® to travel to local and rural areas to help train men and women on how they can provide primary health care services in the community (health promotion, disease prevention, curative and rehabilitative services and family planning) as well as first aid and primary healthcare in case of any natural disaster or emergency such as fire, floods or earthquakes.
First aid and hygiene training programmes are not only easy to teach but they are also cheap and productive. These programmes also play a positive role in the lives of rural and poor communities of developing countries.
AMWT® has created 20 medical training camps and training programmes in rural dispensaries and rural health centres with the collaboration of local communities and local health authorities.
Our Health Training Programme campaign hashtag on facebook, google+, instagram, flickr and twitter is: #betterruralhealthcare
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