Pakistan being a developing country is facing burden of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. Both Government and private sector health systems exist in Pakistan, however Government health system is unable to satisfy the needs of population due to low health budget. People are trying to find better treatment options by themselves in their limited household budget. Around 68% of population visit private clinics for consultation and treatment, its high cost lead to financial strain and become stress factor. Researches revealed significant association of different psychological problems with financial and domestic issues. Prevalence of depression and anxiety also increased during last few decades in Pakistan. These health problems cause reduction in productivity among population that directly effects personal functioning. A patient becomes unable to earn effectively or cannot make proper decisions regarding daily routine. As a result of this, rest of the house bare his burden of disease and manage somehow for the survival. So it is important to spend healthcare expenditure on effective treatment with the most reasonable cost. Understanding the economic evaluation methods is very important to estimate the cost and effectiveness of healthcare interventions and provides best alternative choice for treatment.
As far as coping with this problem in Pakistan is concerned, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination contributes in improving healthcare system through checking and controlling Unethical Medical Practices and providing financial protection to People living below the poverty line. As this ministry is not solely responsibility for national public health, other governmental department came forward and took several actions to some extent for the betterment of healthcare system. Moreover, several self funded and non-governmental organizations also helping general public through providing counseling, medicines and treatments at free of cost or with minimal charges. After all these, still existing healthcare system is not capable to face these challenges. People sometimes compromise with the cost or denied of taking treatment due to non-affordability. Pakistan media daily highlights several related news like low quality remedies, negligence of medical doctor, protest of medical staff and etc. So government should take some serious actions regarding improvement of quality of life through collaboration with NGOs, Insurance and Pharmaceutical industries, and other related industries.
Beside these, several academics institutions (like Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, University of Karachi, and Dow University of Health Science) showed themselves in spreading awareness about concepts of Health Economics Reforms and healthcare expenditures at individual and national level both. Pakistan Institute of Living and Learning also took an initiative by offering Fundamentals of Health Economic course in Karachi, Pakistan. As this is an emerging discipline course, so it is comprised of wide range of Economics, Healthcare Sector Concepts, Health Econometrics and some field Research topics.
Written by: Mohsin Hassan Alvi & Dr. Nosheen Zehra