Since the formulation of Millennium Development Goals, there is good progress concerning the good health and well-being of all people. According to UN report, “the number of people newly infected by HIV each year has dropped from 3.1 million to 2 million and over 6.2 million lives were saved from malaria. Since 1990, maternal mortality fell by 45 percent, and worldwide there has been an over 50 percent decline in preventable child deaths globally” in the previous fifteen years.
Access to health and well-being is a fundamental right of all the people living on the planet. “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being” (WHO). United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 is planned to yield happy life and promote well-being for all humans living anywhere in the world up to 2030.
By 2030, the focus of targets in Sustainable Development Goal three is the reduction of child mortality, improving maternal health, control HIV/AIDS, TB, and epidemic diseases like malaria and others. “Substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water, and soil pollution and contamination”(Danish institute).
Challenges in Pakistan
In Pakistan, especially in Sindh, the culture of government hospitals is outdated. Doctors and staff do not show responsibility and ownership. The attitude of medics in their private hospitals is more polite and caring as compared to in government hospitals. The equipment in government hospitals is mostly outdated or out-of-order. The medicines that are expensive are not available in public hospitals, however commonly used medicines are available.
“The latest deaths have taken the death toll in Tharparkar in March to 35 and 165 since January 01, 2019.” (PakistanToday) While the figures in 2018 were dangerous regarding child morality that takes lives “Over 500 children have died during the current year in the desert area — this is the highest figure for the past four years” (Dawn, October 2018) due to poverty and hunger. The immunization system of newborn children is subsequently weak that their survival becomes a challenge for parents and the government to overcome.
Unhygienic environment and unclean water increase epidemic diseases. Recent rainfall has challenged authorities to maintain a hygienic environment, especially in big cities.
Another challenge for government and common people is medical pharmaceutical companies, they are playing with lives with minute profits, unfortunately, medical professionals are equally involved in that immoral practice.
Steps to Deal with the Challenges
The government of Sindh has taken a good initiative and handed over their hospitals to Integrated Health Services (IHS). IHS is a national healthcare group (since 1996) working towards SDG 03 all over Pakistan with public-private partnerships. Many government hospitals are handed over to IHS to ensure quality health facilities free-of-cost.
Another good initiative was taken by the government of Sindh, which constructed Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants in Tharparkar with a cast of billions of rupees to meet the demands of pure water. “Clean water is everything for us. We pray to God only for pure water. Since RO plants are on a roll, we have blossomed into secure and sound life,” says Bindiya (The Nation, Feb 2018). Hundreds of unemployed got employed Muslims and Hindus. But after a few years later, many RO plants are shut downed and many of them will soon be shut down if not properly maintained.
PPHI since 2007, providing quality medical services and arrange pieces of training for mid-wives and other technical staff that contribute especially deprived areas. “Building capacity of health care providers is very important for efficient diagnosis and treatment to deliver high-quality preventive, promotive, curative & rehabilitative services”.
“The Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) focuses on the following 9 deadly Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPDs) in Pakistan” (Health Department Sindh). There is a need to aware people living in rural areas cooperate with teams for the better lives of their children.
The situation in Punjab is not adequately good but in some way better as compared to other provinces of the country. Frequently highlighted challenges in public hospitals of Punjab province are lower the number of health professionals and available health facilities, and young doctors’ job incentives that sometimes hit common people directly through their marches/strikes.
“There are 3,500 ventilators in Punjab, out of which 2,200 are in the private sector, yet these private health facilities are lying empty and the government chose to spend on field hospitals” (thenews.com).
Health facilities if possible in any conceivable way should be free for all. There should be no concept of public and private hospitals in the country.
Good health and wellbeing is the right of every person living on the planet without any discrimination. All the stakeholders should take responsibility for providing and maintain the best facilities for all. The persons who are healthy can contribute more than ill either physically or mentally. As the saying of Greek philosopher Thales “A sound mind in a sound body”.