IT is embarrassing that Pakistan has been rated the second-worst country on the Global Gender Gap Index, according to a report released by the World Economic Forum. This is the latest in the long line of embarrassing lists where Pakistan’s performance has been judged poorly by global agencies.
Various reports suggest Pakistan has the world’s third-highest number of patients with diabetes. It stands at second place for polio cases, with 11 new cases identified recently. The country tops the list of Asian countries in terms of breast cancer incidence; second in maternal mortality among the member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc); third in pneumonia victims age under five years; and fifth in terms of tuberculosis (TB) incidence among the 30 high-burden countries.
Why does Pakistan stand amongst the worst in healthcare in the world when it has institutions, hospitals and doctors? A major reason is the lack of government attention to healthcare. The government allocates a meagre amount for health budget and spends even less.
In the last over seven decades, it has not focused on the healthcare delivery mechanism which is one of the most important elements in the life of any developing country. It is time to set things right in this critical sector.
Dr Asghar Naqvi
Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2022