Lancet: Healthcare in Pakistan needs change

Deficiencies in Pakistan's healthcare infrastructure could cause the deaths of more than 200,000 women and children in 2015 and result in annual costs of approximately 232 million euros for preventable deaths from "lifestyle" diseases by 2025, according to a new series published by Lancet (17 May 2013).

Its four-part series on health transitions in Pakistan analyzes the country's past and present performance in health, and calls for a unified vision for universal and equitable health access by citizens across the nation.

Investing in healthcare might be the key for Pakistan's national security and the country's survival as a nation state, according to the heads of the series, Dr. Sania Nishtar, president of the nonprofit organization Heartfile in Islamabad, and Dr. Zulfigar Bhutta, PhD, director of the Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health of Aga Khan University in Karachi.

The topics of the Lancet series include the following:

  • A comprehensive assessment of the country's health systems measuring progress made during the past 20 years
  • An analysis of healthcare needed for women and children, and recommendations for a set of low-cost, evidence-based interventions that could save the lives of tens of thousands of them
  • An analysis of statistics and trends of deaths from preventable lifestyle diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes
  • Recommendations of federal government policy objectives that could transform the lives of millions of Pakistanis each year
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