Balochistan’s collapsed Health Sector

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Naseebullah Khan
The disaster is before us, but priorities are elsewhere. The provincial government, along with the doctor__both are responsible for the sorry state of affairs of collapsing healthcare system in the province. The indicator concerning the health sector in the province reflects as such the people have been living in medieval ages. For a population of 12.3 million, 4015 doctors including 1057 surgeons are serving. Simply, it means, one doctor is available for around 3000 people. As per the data of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics 2019, the total number of hospitals in the province is 134, along with 574 dispensaries and 95 maternity and child welfare centres. In these hospitals and dispensaries, etc. total beds available are 7797. It means one bed is available for 1577 people while every hospital is located at a distance of around 60 km. The posture is more painful when we observe the maternal and child care sector. The maternal mortality rate is 785/10000, which is the highest in the world. The Infant mortality rate of 129/1000 per birth is again the highest in the country. Furthermore, the Neonatal mortality rate, when a child dies within 28 days is 34/1000, whereas the infant mortality rate under 1 year is 66/1000 birth. According to MNCH, delivery assisted skilled attendants are 38 pc. In addition to that, the situation of postnatal care is abysmal. Only 14.7 pc children receive postnatal care. Whilst, 47 pc children in the province are acutely malnourished.The private health sector gesticulates the worst type of bad governance on the part of the government and anti_humanism on the part of the owners. Private hospitals have become money-earning machines, without any criterion of prices from the government. The quacks have made hostage the private sector whereas thousands of medical stores have been functioning without proper rules and regulation. As per the report of the district health authority, In my native District Chaman, only one private hospital is registered with the government. Notwithstanding, the laboratories in the province have been playing with the lives of the people__where untrained and uncertified people are running laboratories. No doubt, doctors are the pillars of society but in our province excluding some individuals, the majority have been monopolizing the government time and again. In the name of the young doctors association, blackmailing has been at its peak for years. For their vested interests, the closures of public hospitals and boycotting from duties (of which they take salaries too) is a normal routine. At the same time, these lack sheep rob the people in their private clinics. On what ground, a doctor can boycott duties? Owing to their demands, the government announced a three-fold package (A, B, C) for doctors. According to that packages, the salaries were increased many folds. Despite this, the doctors are still stuck in Quetta and even, a surgeon or an FCPS Docter is reluctant to go do duty in the periphery or in his/her district __on whose quota they have gotten a medical seat. Undoubtedly, bad governance on the part of the provincial government can be held responsible. Though, 32 pc of budget in 2021_22 had been allocated. But still, a long way to go. Because of the shrinking economy, a complete reconstructing of the health sector is impossible. In the current state of affairs, privatization of the health sector will not be a bad idea. Balochistan healthcare commission Act 2019, is an admirable document with special reference to quackery provided that it is implemented in true spirit. Moreover, Balochistan private hospital regulation act 2004 is a fine move if the Inspection of the private hospitals takes place in accordance with the act, the challenges could be solved.Balochistan health sector strategy 2018_2025 is a pivotal document for the reconstruction of the sector. The challenge again is the budgetary allocation, which cannot be fulfilled at current. Apart from this, Balochistan,s provincial [email protected] strategy about children, maternal health, and nutrition is a comprehensive plan. Again, the obstacle is budgetary allocation, which is impossible in the current economic crisis in the province. At a time, when billions of rupees have been spent on this sector, when the situation has not been satisfactory__sanity must prevail. The privatization of this sector will at least diminish the pains of the marginalized people of the province.

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