Quality healthcare still a pipe dream
June 22, 2012
The right to a healthy life is paramount considering that it seems to be the one factor eluding the general population. Good health care is a right, but, sadly, it has in turn become a privilege, with life expectancy directly correlating to one’s societal and financial standing. The underprivileged majority of this country scrapes at the bottom for their lives, while the elite keep adding to their years. People seem to living in a vacuum where air is constantly being sucked out of them. The surety of a steady income, a roof over the head, and food on the plates occupy the thoughts of the population at large. With so many worries already burdening the people, it would be a real curse if health, too, were to give way. The state-run medical establishments are clearly not providing the type of assistance that is needed to curb the current healthcare crisis.
The state of these establishments is downright pathetic. It is sad to see the way the sick are treated in these places; the sheer manner in which the patients are shoved in and out of the doctors’ rooms, makes for a very unpleasant sight. The clinics and hospitals are dangerously under equipped, under staffed and low on medicines. Hygiene and hospitals two words that are supposed to go hand in hand, but, unfortunately, these phrases are very alien to each other in these institutions and there is no accountability either by those in charge of the hospitals or the political bosses at the higher echelons.
On the other hand, the privileged strata of the country enjoy the best of everything; their hospitals are well equipped and adequately staffed, and doctors take good care of the patients. The poor have been condemned to a bleak existence where the sphere of their personal hell seems to keep on growing and an end to which is nowhere in sight.
The inadequacies of these medical establishments are borderline medieval at best, disease runs rampant, and the people just don’t seem to be able to catch a break. In recent days, a few mishaps have really raised some valid questions regarding negligence. New-born babies being burnt to death, infant mortality not being at the desired rate, baby kidnappings from government hospitals and malnutrition are key concerns. Polio has still not been eradicated from Pakistan, whereas it has gone extinct in many parts of the world. The dengue virus claimed many innocent lives, and now we live in fear for its return again because once the virus takes roots in a country, it takes many years to eliminate it. The only thing that can be done meanwhile is to contain it and that can only be done through promotion of hygiene. Countrywide awareness campaigns are needed where actual work is done and it is not just a photo-op.
Pakistan produces some of the finest doctors in the world, who have made name the world over, yet Pakistan itself is deprived of their talents. Going into the interior parts of the country, the situation gets worse; most of the rural areas have facilities that are lacking in expertise, equipment and infrastructure. They can best be described as first-aid clinics. This neglect has led to many sham operations making millions and playing with the lives of the poor. The qualified doctors are unwilling to take up positions in these places, forcing the people to move towards the cities where further degradation awaits their arrival.
Pakistan indeed is glorious, but the glory so far has been a tainted one. Drastic measures being the need of the hour are the only solutions. But all is not lost if the citizens selflessly work towards a greater Pakistan. Pakistan has every chance of becoming a country where people can live and pursue their desired happiness without being restricted to societal norms and standings. A state where good health is a right and certainly not a privilege, be it for the rich or the poor.