KARACHI- A meeting of the central leadership of Pakistan Medical Association held here at PMA House opined that although Pakistan’s Constitution stipulates that the provision of health, education and the security to life was the responsibility of the government, all governments have miserably failed to deliver a patient-friendly system.
It was convened to discuss health delivery system in the country and to finalize proposals for upcoming budget.
PMA (Centre) president Dr Aziz Ahmed Lehri participated in the meeting from Quetta via video link. Others who took part in the deliberations through video link included president-elect PMA (Centre) Dr M. Ashraf Nizami, Dr Talha Sherwani, Dr Bashir Ahmed Channa, Dr Izhar Ahmed Chaudhry, Dr Tanveer Anwar, Dr Shahid Malik, Dr Mehr Muhammad Iqbal, Dr Saeed Memon, and Dr Pir Manzoor Ali.
The meeting was also attended by PMA Centre’s former president Prof S. Tipu Sultan, PMA Centre secretary-general Dr Mirza Ali Azhar, Dr S.M. Qaisar Sajjad, Prof M. Idrees Adhi, Dr Qazi M. Wasiq, Dr Naseer Baloch, Dr Ahmed Bhimani, Dr Hamid Manzoor, Dr Khalil Mukkadam, Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, Dr Usman Ghani, Dr Najum Feroz Mehmudi and many other senior members of the organization.
It noted with great concern that the indicators of the health delivery system of the country are almost the same as they were in yester years. In a way it is an unfortunate situation which is required to be changed by taking some bold steps and aggressive measures, it added.
After a marathon session, the participants of the meeting recommended to the federal and provincial governments to incorporate the following points in the coming budget.
– The first and the foremost issue is the lack of governance which should be addressed. A check on corruption and the policy based on merit should be adopted.
– The budget allocation for the country has always remained less than one per cent in the country’s history, which is totally insufficient to provide a quality healthcare system to a large poor and non-affording population. PMA demands a substantial increase in the budget (although WHO recommends 6pc of the GDP, which is obviously not possible for the government).
– By and large our health delivery system is based on the curative side rather than being on the preventive side. We are spending a large sum of amount for treating the diseases, but at the same time if a little amount is spent on the prevention of the diseases, we can save a huge amount of money with minimum suffering for the patient. For example clean drinking water can minimize the gastroenterological diseases up to 70pc and proper vaccination/Immunization can keep a lot of diseases under control like T.B, polio, hepatitis, pneumonia, meningitis, whooping cough, diphtheria, etc.
– It was noted that a good percentage of our population while getting old does not have means to pay for its medical treatment. There is no system in the country to treat these senior citizens on priority. It means there is no concept of Geriatric medicine in our country. It was demanded that there must be some special counters for the old population with free supply of medicines.
The PMA also demanded revision of doctors’ pay scale across the country with some reasonable privileges and doctors working in the far-flung areas should be paid some extra-incentives.