ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal on Friday said that under the prevailing circumstances, the country needs an industrial revolution and long march for economic revival.
He was addressing a round table conference on “Improved access to health services”, organised by the Young Development Fellows (YDF) of the Planning Commission .
The minister stressed the need for strengthening and stabilising the democratic political system and also emphasised continuity in developmental policies to achieve the desired results of these policies and reforms.
He said that YDF was an initiative of the Planning Commission under which the youth were engaged to generate fresh ideas to take the country towards progress and development.
Ahsan Iqbal said that in the age of quality human resources, when it determined the phase of development, social sector of the country was weak and in the club of least developed countries, which he termed "a national dilemma".
"We need strong legs. We need to provide better health care facilities, eliminate poverty and inequalities from society," he said, adding that these developments will put Pakistan in the ranks of progressive countries.
He further said that during the 35 years of martial law in the country, social sector was badly neglected and less expenditure of 0.8 percent and 0.4 percent were made in health, education and other civic facilities.
The minister said that the government was trying to bridge these gaps and had allocated funds to enhance the outreach of health care facilities adding that it had launched Rs12.5 billion communities based social sector development programme to achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs).
He said that the health sector in the country was facing different co-related challenges including poverty, water contamination and environmental hazards lake of preventive health care facilities.
The state of health care facilities in rural areas was deteriorating and facing a shortage of paramedics and other trained staff to operate available equipment.
Ahsan Iqbal said that the government has announced a health insurance scheme to provide quality health care facilities to the common man, and called upon the government, academia and civil society for pooling efforts to make the country economically strong by providing quality human resource.