Major health issues in Pakistan

The problem of health issues is increasing in Pakistan on daily basis. These issues lead towards new kind of diseases that are difficult to treat due to lack of infrastructure.

Major health issues in PakistanPakistan is ranked 122 out of 190 countries in term of health care by World Health Organization (WHO). Pakistan is at third highest rank, when it comes to infant mortality in the world. Pakistan as a developing country is struggling in many fields, biomedical is one of them.

The Government of Pakistan has not ever made health care a priority issue. More than 60 million of people are living below the poverty line and are not able to fulfill their basic needs due to limited resources/finance.

Local hospitals are treating poor people for free of cost but they are not able to serve all the underprivileged people in Pakistan. People living in rural communities are not aware about diseases due to which they do not go for proper treatment.

The main reason of disease spread in poor people is lack of awareness, diagnosis and treatment facilities. Major public health problem in Pakistan are:

Health Infrastructure and Resource Development in Pakistan

Provision of good health services depends upon conditions and availability of basic health infrastructure. There are many indicators of health infrastructure i.e. number of hospitals, health units, dispensaries, no. of beds in hospitals, equipment, diagnostic facilities etc.

There is no major establishment in public health sector since 1985, whereas population is almost tripled. We need to improve our infrastructure to treat different emerging and re-emerging diseases.

There must be improvement in human resource development program. There is need to give advanced training’s to augment skill development of personnel in health sector. Advanced nursing programs and special training’s of young doctors is the need of time to meet with various emerging diseases in Pakistan.

Management in Health Sector

A good management provide basis for effective/productive health services for which professionally qualified public health specialists are needed. They plan, organize, administer and evaluate community health programs.

Now public health institutes are providing proper training to managers. Also, there is a need to strengthen the health institutes in all provinces of Pakistan to make postgraduate qualification accessible for every medical graduate.

Research in Health Sector

There is lack of interest and orientation in the field of medical research. Research in health sector can provide important information about disease trends, risk factors, outcomes of treatment or public health interventions and health care costs.

Clinical trials provides information about efficacy and adverse effects of medical interventions by controlling different factors that can affect the results of study. It also play a vital role to record and assess experience in clinical practice in order to develop guidelines for best practices and to ensure high-quality patient care.

The development of new therapies and remarkable improvement in health care and public health is based on research in health sector. Research in health sector imposed great challenges for the scholars. Although research is an important component at postgraduate level but the quality teaching of students in writing medical research paper is still a challenge.

Communicable Diseases

Communicable diseases are found to be the prime cause of mortality in Pakistan. Major reason for the rapid spread of the disease include over-crowded cities, low health awareness, unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor socioeconomic condition. These diseases are

  • Acute respiratory infection: It interfere with normal breathing and affect upper and lower respiratory system. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, difficult breathing, sore throat, fatigue, pharyngitis, bronchitis and congestion in nasal sinuses or lungs. Children with low immune system are more susceptible.
  • Viral hepatitis: Viral hepatitis includes hepatitis A, B, C is a group of distinct disease that affect the liver. Each type of hepatitis have different signs and symptoms.
  • Symptoms are similar to those of the flu and include fever, fatigue, belly pain, dark urine, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, jaundice and clay colored poop. The main cause of hepatitis B and C is due to blood transfusions and equipment sharing such as razors, toothbrushes and other household articles.
  • Malaria: It is a life threatening disease caused by parasite. Majority of people living in slums area suffering from disease. It is one of the top health issues in Pakistan.
  • Disease is caused, when mosquitoes breed on unclean, stagnant and unsanitary water conditions which is common in rural areas. Symptoms of disease are fever, headache and chills. Malaria can also cause death, if left untreated. Use of nets and mosquito repellents is common.
  • Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis, is a serious infectious disease that affect on lungs. Pakistan ranks in one of top 5 countries that highly susceptible to TB according to WHO. Signs and symptoms are fever, fatigue, chest pain, sweat, chills, loss of appetite, weight loss, coughing up with blood. Transmission of disease is by sneezing and coughing. It can become deadly, if not treated on time.
  • HIV/AIDS:  HIV/AIDS caused by human immunodeficiency virus. It is a sexually transmitted disease and can be spread by contact with infected blood or from mother to child during pregnancy. It is observed that there are around about 100,000 HIV positive cases in Pakistan.
  • The major cause of this disease in Pakistan is the use of infected syringes. Sign and symptoms of disease are fever, headache, joint pain, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. Government needs to take serious action to prevent the HIV AIDS because disease is non curable but some medication slow down the progression of disease.

Non Communicable Diseases

About 41 million of peoples die from non-communicable diseases every year. Non-communicable diseases includes cardiovascular problems, diabetes, cancer and coronary heart disease. NCD also known as chronic diseases are of long duration and are the combination of genetic, physiological, environmental factors.

These conditions are associated with older age group. These diseases are occur due to rapid unplanned urbanization, globalization and population ageing. Unhealthy food and lack of physical activity can cause raised blood pressure, increased blood glucose, blood lipids and obesity.

We can resolve health issues by improving biomedical research, medical care, improving strategic plans for public health and information technologies, biotechnologies, by making good policies, planning and development of health services and regulation of pure food and medicines.

Authors: Muhammad Hunain Ahmed, Muhammad Tariq Javed, Sami Ullah Khan Bahadur, Narmeen Tariq, Aira Tariq

By Muhammad Hunain Ahmed

Student of M phil Pathology.