The Government of Pakistan’s facts showed that the country has shown improvement in health indicators over the previous 3-year. Life expectancy is grown from 66.9 years in 2017 to 67.3 years in 2019, but is still behind in the region. The infant mortality rate, maternal mortality and population growth rate have been declined during the previous 3-year. It is also showed that in order to make substantial progress on Goal 3 of Sustainable Development Goals (Good Health and Wellbeing), the government has given priority to strengthen health sector to further resolve and address the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
Statistics also showed that Pakistan’s Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has fallen from 62.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015 to 55.7 in 2019, while Neonatal Mortality Rate fell from 45.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015 to 41.2 in 2019. Percentage of birth attended by skilled health personnel is increased from 58 percent in 2015 to 68 percent in 2020 (PSLM, 2019-20). Maternal Mortality Ratio declined from 276 maternal deaths per 100,000 births in 2006, to 189 in 2019. With a population growth rate of 1.9 percent, Pakistan’s contraceptive prevalence rate in 2019 stayed stagnant at 34.0 percent. Pakistan’s tuberculosis incidence is of 263 per 100,000 population and HIV prevalence rate is 0.1 per 1,000 population in 2019 while, mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is 59.9 percent.
The Government of Pakistan is exploring dedicated actions to curb the rising burden of NCDs, although, many of its attempts have been severally affected through Covid-19 pandemic repercussions. The Government of Pakistan has started a landmark health care initiative, “Sehat Sahulat Programme” with an objective to lead a path towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country. The Government of Pakistan presently introduced the Naya Pakistan Qaumi Sehat Card scheme to offer health insurance to families across Punjab, Islamabad, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Tharparkar. Statistics showed that this scheme will cost the government Rs450 billion and will offer free medical treatment to the people at government and private hospitals. Each family can avail treatment worth Rs 1.0 million yearly.
The Government also said private and government hospitals will no longer have to pay premium for universal health coverage and both private and public hospitals will offer treatment to the people. It is said that it is a very ambitious project and rich and the poor will both have free healthcare for the first time in Pakistan. It is also noted that Punjab is establishing five mother and child care hospitals to mitigate the high mortality rate of Pakistan. It is expected that the government of Pakistan will also facilitate private hospitals to venture into rural areas.
The government will provide land on cheap rates to private hospitals and also remove duties on medical equipment in a bid to facilitate them. Total 56 hospitals had been enlisted in the province to provide medical insurance facilities in 36 districts. He said the entire population of Punjab would get medical insurance till the end of next month. Statistics showed that in Pakistan the health-related expenditure grew by 14.3 percent from Rs 421.8 billion in 2018-19 to Rs 482.3 billion in 2019-20. Public sector expenditure on health was estimated at 1.2 percent of GDP in 2019-20, as compared to 1.1 percent in 2018-19.
FP & PHC programme with Ehsaas programme
FP&PHC programme with intensification through Ehsaas Programme, is striving to control population growth. Pakistan has a Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 3.7 percent and Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) of 34.0 percent (PSLM, 2018-19). To continue promoting strong government commitment, government is making its efforts to strengthen collaboration among regions, in order to reach 6.7 million additional users of contraception and increase CPR to 50 percent.
Polio eradication initiative programme
Almost 38 million children were vaccinated during March, 2021 through the National Immunization Day (NID) campaign in Pakistan. The Country is one of only 2 remaining countries in the world with ongoing wild poliovirus transmission, along with Afghanistan. The number of polio cases declined from 306 in 2014 to 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016, 8 in 2017 and 12 in 2018. However, in 2019, the programme witnessed a significant spread of the virus and reported 147 polio cases across the country. In 2020, 84 cases have been reported (Punjab 14, Sindh 22, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 22 and Balochistan 26). The government is fully committed for polio eradication efforts to ensure that Pakistan achieves polio-free status.
Malaria control programme
Around 7 million suspects are screened for malaria every year. Whereas around 350,000 confirmed malaria cases are treated as per national treatment guidelines. More than 6 million LLITNs have been distributed in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (including merged tribal areas) and Sindh province to prevent population from malaria. In addition, malaria diagnostic and treatment services will be further expanded to achieve universal coverage in high risk districts of Pakistan.
Tuberculosis control programme
According to WHO, Pakistan ranked fifth highest burden country of tuberculosis worldwide, with an estimated 510,000 new TB cases emerging every year. The incidence and mortality per 100,000 population per year from TB in Pakistan is 263 and 19 respectively. With the guidance of WHO, Pakistan has developed a National TB Control Programme (NTP) to prevent population from TB. NTP strives for TB free Pakistan by reducing 50 percent prevalence of TB in general population by 2025 in comparison to 2012, through universal access to quality TB care and achieving Zero TB death.