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Health sector likely to make improvement under current budget plan

Present Economic Statistics revealed that during the previous years, the Government of Pakistan has successfully done well in enhancing the health care facilities and even rightly implementing the various major health programs, which sternly established the standard of good health care in Pakistan.

Statistics also shows that the situation was very bad after the time of independence, when there is only 292 hospitals, only 48 doctors and 186 nurses serving the citizens while now the Finance Ministry recorded that the number of registered doctors are 195,896, dentist and registered nurses are 99,228 and total number of hospitals are 1,167 (2015). But unluckily the Government of Pakistan is spending merely 0.5 to 0.8 percent of its GDP on health care over the last 10 years. These percentages are less than the World Health Organization’s benchmark of at least 6 percent of GDP required to offer basic and life saving services. It is also mentioned in the World Bank’s latest statistics, Pakistan’s per capita health spending presently is $36.2 which is below than the WHO’s low income states benchmark of US$86. Furthermore, our government officials revealed that during FY2016, total expenditure rose by 13 percent over FY2015, and during present FY2017 (July-March), the expenditure remained at $145.97 billion explaining a rise of 9 percent over the corresponding period of last year. In the country’s constitution, provincial government is mainly accountable for health care delivery and its management and even the implementation of nationwide strategies. Although, federal government of Pakistan is accountable for formulating and planning country’s strategies, training, research and seeking foreign assistance.

 

HEALTH & NUTRITION EXPENDITURES (2000-01 to 2016-17) (Rs. billion)
Fiscal Years
Public Sector Expenditure (Federal and Provincial)
Percentage Change
Health Expenditure as % of GDP
Total Health Expenditures
Development Expenditure
Current Expenditure
2011-12
55.12
26.25
28.87
30.96
0.27
2012-13
125.96
33.47
92.49
128.51
0.56
2013-14
173.42
58.74
114.68
37.68
0.69
2014-15
199.32
69.13
130.19
14.94
0.72
2015-16
225.33
78.07
147.26
13.05
0.76
July-March
2015-16
133.93
39.94
94.00
2016-17
145.97
37.47
108.50
8.99
0.46

For FY2017-18, the federal government has allocated an amount of Rs48,701.460 million for completion of 18 on-going and five new projects in health sector under Public Sector Development Project (PSDP). According to the statistics by the Finance Ministry with inclusion of provinces share of Rs5,700 million in EPI (expanded program on immunization), the total amount will reach Rs54,401.460 million. Out of total amount, an amount of Rs37,500.328 million has been assigned for eighteen on-going health projects while Rs16,901.132 million has been assigned for five latest projects. The government official also mentioned that an amount of Rs16,400 million has been allocated for National Health Program for family planning and primary health care while Rs7705.145 has been earmarked for population welfare program in all provinces. Similarly, Rs7400 million has been allocated for EPI, Islamabad while Rs3,000 million has been earmarked for Prime Minister’s National Health Program. An amount of Rs1,046.219 million has allocated for MNCH-program while Rs684 million has been allocated for Prime Minister’s program for prevention and control of hepatitis.

For completion of national program for prevention and control of blindness an amount of Rs247 million has been allocated while Rs124 million has been allocated for National TB Control program.

The Ministry of Finance also mentioned in its present report that in schemes, the government has allocated an amount of Rs800 million has been allocated for Prime Minister’s Program for New Hospitals (Phase-I) while Rs7,000 million has been allocated for Prime Minister’s National Health Program (Phase-II). Similarly, an amount of Rs1,317.52 million has been allocated for Prime Minister’s Program for new hospitals, planning, design, medical equipment, construction across Pakistan.

Furthermore, an amount of Rs500 million has also been allocated for National Preventive Health Program while Rs83.380 million has been allocated for strengthening of Health Services Academy, Islamabad.

CONCLUSION

Health is the major sector of any economy. In Pakistan, rate of progress in this sector is lower than most other states. The present government must increase the investment in this sector through new health programs as the government in order to attain health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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