Pakistan is a developing country which has made progress in many fields in the past 72 years. However, health has always been a neglected sector in the country. In the history of Pakistan, no Government has made healthcare a priority specifically for the rural population which is more than 70 million in numbers. It is indeed distressing that healthcare has never been the main agenda of political parties be it PMLN, PPP or PTI. While a lot of work has been done for the advancement of medical facilities at private hospitals, Government hospitals are overburdened and understaffed due to which, a large number of people across Pakistan face death or severe consequences every year.
While the media focuses on healthcare crisis of polio and aids, no debate has been done regarding the basic healthcare needs that the people of Pakistan need. The current population of Pakistan is 204,735,896 and according to reports, 3 out of 10 Pakistanis are living in multidimensional poverty with the highest rates in Balochistan and FATA followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 49% poverty and Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan with 43% poverty rate. However, progress in healthcare across different regions in the country is uneven. Poverty in urban areas is only around 10% as compared to over 50% in rural areas.
The health indifferences in the country is due to the fact that Pakistan spends only around 3% of the total budget on healthcare sector. The rural population has limited or no access to healthcare facilities, especially in far-flung areas. Majority of the underserved population in Pakistan is undergoing health issues but they are unable to avail the adequate healthcare services due to lack of resources. On the other hand, cost of private treatment is beyond the financial capability of millions of people who are earning less than $2 a day.
According to a report, Pakistan has an annual backlog of 17 million surgeries. These include life-saving heart surgeries, cesarean sections, cancer surgeries, orthopedic surgeries that could prevent lifelong disability, and simple procedures to treat kidney stones, hernia and also the congenital defects in kids that dramatically enhance their quality of life.
While many organizations have come forward to tackle the healthcare issues in Pakistan, there is an NGO that has taken a great initiative in reducing the healthcare disparity faced by the rural community across Pakistan. Transparent Hands has been providing free medical and surgical treatment to the deserving people of Pakistan since 2014. In addition to that, the organization also arranges free medical camps all across Pakistan in which free consultation service, free medicines and free diagnostic test facility are given to the patients of all ages, any caste or religion.
This time again, Transparent Hands with the help of Atlas Copco arranged a medical camp in Gopal Nagar, Lahore on 12th July 2019. During this medical camp, Transparent Hands team provided free consultation to more than 400 patients and also distributed free medicines. Diagnostic test facility was also provided free of cost which included; Blood Pressure Test, Diabetes Test, Hepatitis B & C Screening Test and Ultrasound.
“Transparent Hands has been serving the most vulnerable people since 2014 and I hope that we’ll continue helping people through the best utilization of our resources. I want to thank Atlas Copco who have supported us in organizing this medical camp and we look forward to conducting many more camps with them”, said Ms. Rameeza Mueen, CEO Transparent Hands.
All the people in the medical camp thanked Transparent Hands and Atlas Copco and lauded the efforts and dedication of their staff who took part in the camp and provided required healthcare without any discrimination to men, women and children.
Saving one life means saving humanity. If more organizations like Transparent Hands come forward and tackle the prevalent health issues in our country, we’ll be able to decrease the backlog of surgeries soon. Also, we do hope that Government will build capacity of more hospitals and clinics in far-flung areas such as rural areas of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir where people could avail the quality health services.