The health sector is a direct source of human welfare and also a tool for growing income levels in any economy. The industry experts mention a number of procedures by which health can affect income, focusing on worker productivity, children’s education, savings and investment, and demographic structure. As well as the impact of present illness, health may have large effects on prospective lifespans and life cycle behavior. It is said that the aggregate size of the world’s health sector is greater than US$ 5.8 trillion per year. It is also calculated that across the OECD states, employment in health and social work rose by 48 percent between 2000 and 2014, while jobs opportunities in industry and agriculture declined.
Researchers have also suggested that macroeconomic evidence for an effect on growth is mixed, with evidence of a large effect in some studies. However, there is a possibility that gains from health may be outweighed by the effect of increased survival on population growth, until a fertility transition occurs. The low cost of some health interventions that have large‐scale effects on population health makes health investments a promising policy tool for growth in developing states. In addition, higher priority could be given to tackling widespread “neglected” diseases—that is, diseases with low mortality burdens that are not priorities from a pure health perspective, but that do have substantial effects on productivity.
Furthermore, in countries with high fertility rates, a declined likelihood of child mortality can also absolutely influence household decisions on family planning. This contributes to a faster demographic transition and its associated economic advantages, often known the demographic dividend. Various researchers have found that investments in the health system also have multiplier effects that improve inclusive economic growth, counting via the creation of perfect job opportunities. They have also mentioned that targeted investment in health systems, counting in the health workforce, promotes economic growth along other pathways: economic output, social protection and cohesion, innovation and health security.
But the world faces a worldwide shortage of health workers. Lack of skilled labor constrains job creation in the health sector. With the right strategies in place, investment in education and job creation in the health sector will contribute to promoting inclusive economic growth.
Recently the federal government of Pakistan has initiated various programs to meet the needs of health care and keep the people healthy like; introduction of national 11health insurance scheme, notification of drug pricing policy 2015 and a continued strong focus on polio eradication across Pakistan. Using statistics from World Bank, Pakistan spends US$ 37 per capita on health which is lower than the WHO’s prescribed level of per capita US$ 44.
The total public health expenditure as percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has risen to 0.45 percent in FY2016. The present level of expenditure amounting Rs.133.9 billion or 0.45 percent of GDP explains a rise of 17.2 percent over the same period of previous year. The federal and provincial share in total public spending on health explains that KPK and Balochistan are spending the least. The major share of spending on health has been observed in Punjab followed by Sindh.
Presently the government officials also mentioned that the public health care system consists of 1,167 hospitals, 5,695 dispensaries, 5,464 basic health units, 675 rural health centers, 733 mother and child health centers and allied medical professionals i.e. doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists. As of FY2016, there are 184,711 doctors, 16,652 dentists and availability of 118,869 hospital beds in Pakistan.
The ratio of one doctor per 1,038 person, one hospital beds for 1,613 person and one dentist for 11,513 persons shows a clear inadequacies chiefly in case of dentists and hospital beds. To improve health status of the people and reduce burden of disease a series of programs and projects are on track. The federal government has also introduced Prime Minister’s National Health Insurance Program to enhance the health status of the population through ensuring access to quality health care particularly improving coverage and access to secondary and priority treatments of the poor and vulnerable population with the objectives of declining out-of-pocket catastrophic health expenditures through insured families for effective care.