Pakistan’s health system is comprised of a mix of publicly financed health delivery with privately financed market delivery. The country’s public health care system is comprises of health workforce, physical infrastructure, tools, supplies and a host of health activities. It is recorded that there are 118,041 hospital beds in Pakistan, which give a population-bed ratio of 1,593. The number of registered doctors 175,223 whereas the number of dentists available in Pakistan is 15,106 whiles the number of nurses and qualified health visitors 90,276 and 15,325.
It has also been in records that there is one doctor for 1,073 and one dentist for 12,447 persons. The number of hospitals is 1,142 while the number of dispensaries and other outlets are 5,499. Since majority of hospitals and doctors are located in big regions/cities, the rural population has much lower health facilities.
During December last year, the government introduced the PM’s NHP (National Health Program), planned to offer free healthcare to the underprivileged of Pakistan at both private and public hospitals. As per the NHP, families that earn less than Rs200 per day would be offered with health insurance cards that would enable them to get free treatment from designated hospitals. The cards would cover treatments costing up to Rs50,000 for common illnesses like the flu, fever or hepatitis, and set aside Rs300,000 for more grave ailments and treatments like heart issues, cancer or dialysis treatment.
Moreover, as many hospitals have lack of necessary facilities to efficiently treat many grave illnesses covered under the NHP, they have been encouraged to apply for low-interest loans so they can satisfy the basic needs for being part of the NHP.
The realization of the NHP has been hailed as a much needed and extremely welcome measure by the Government of Pakistan. However, though it is intended to eventually be a countrywide project, presently it is in its pilot stage and, so far, only 23 districts across the country would covered.
Another inhibiting factor has been the opting out of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) from the NHP, leaving only Punjab, Balochistan and AJK as the beneficiary regions.
Population per Doctor
Population per Dentist
Population per Bed
Targets & achievements
The achievements for the health sector during FY2015 included 3,500 fresh doctors, 350 dentists, 3,300 nurses, 4,500 paramedics and 450 traditional birth attendants.
Under the preventive program, almost 6 million children were targeted to be immunized and 20 million packets of ORS were to be distributed in FY2015.
Till date 4,500 HIV positive cases have been recorded to the National and Provincial AIDS Control Programs. The total numbers of TB cases are 63,470, whereas the absolute number of cases is 21,1500 up to the third quarter of 2014 and the treatment success rate stayed 91 percent.
Cancer treatment program
Cancer is a worldwide issue, and Pakistan is no exemption. But in states like Pakistan, the incidence of cancer is rising due to higher population.
Punjab has a population of over 109 million citizens, and the yearly cancer patient load is 180,000 new cases each year added to the existing pool of cancer patients. Unluckily, majority of the cancer patients remain untreated in Punjab.
Experts revealed that there are only 589 cancer beds, 35 cancer physicians and a few trained nurses to attend to the cancer patients in the whole province. With such meager facilitates, the tragedy is that only 30,000 cancer patients get to the cancer treatment facilities, and about 80 percent remain untreated.
Provincial government hospitals treat 12,000 cancer patients. Pakistan Atomic Energy Cancer Centers treat another 6,000 patients and Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital treats almost 9,500 patients yearly.