World Health & Population

World Health & Population 14(3) May 2013 : 22-31.doi:10.12927/whp.2013.23438

Resource Allocation in Pakistan's Health Sector: A Critical Appraisal and a Path toward the Millennium Development Goals

Babar Tasneem Shaikh, Irum Ejaz, Arslan Mazhar and Assad Hafeez


Pakistan is trying hard to sustain its progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. However, because of a lack of political commitment to innovative solutions to improve its financing mechanism, the health system is unable to provide even essential and basic services to the people. The country, with more than 70% of the population living on less than two US dollars a day, largely depends on direct taxes for its revenue. Because of inadequate financing, the quality of government services is inexcusably poor; therefore, a majority of people seek healthcare in the private sector. This has led to a horde of issues pertaining to equity, accessibility and fairness. High out-of-pocket expenses on health jeopardize a family's livelihood, pushing it into a vicious circle of poverty. In the wake of recent devolution, this paper presents options for future health financing that enables the provinces to exert their autonomy to safeguard the health of the most vulnerable in the country. Our recommendations follow the vision of the World Health Organization and the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, to achieve universal health coverage and social protection for the poor.



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