Common health issues in Pakistan in 2023

Mahrukh Naeem

More than 60 million people in Pakistan are impoverished. Some people are unable to meet even their most basic needs due to a lack of resources. Furthermore, with a medical diagnosis, they have nowhere to turn. In Pakistan, there aren’t enough local hospitals, nurses, and medical experts to care for everyone who lives in poverty. The Pakistani government has not prioritised health care.
Local hospitals have provided free medical care to the needy, but they are unable to service a huge number of patients at once due to a shortage of financing. Furthermore, due to the waiting list, patients requiring surgical care at adjacent hospitals must wait an extremely lengthy time. When it is their turn, the patient either dies or becomes sicker. In Pakistan, there are now over 2 million unfinished operations, and the number is growing by the day.
Residents of rural areas, on the other hand, are less aware of their sickness, which prevents them from receiving prompt, efficient care. Several diseases are frequent in Pakistan, and the poor are disproportionately impacted. In the midst of this upheaval, common health conditions in Pakistan are on the rise.
The following are some of the most common health issues in Pakistan:
Malaria is caused by the bite of a mosquito, which breeds in contaminated water. Given the scale of the slum population, malaria spreads quickly. Malaria can be lethal if not treated properly. Because slum inhabitants typically lack education and understanding, they must rely on over-the-counter medications to treat their illnesses. Malaria has evolved treatment resistance as a result. According to 2014 data, Pakistan has 1.5 million malaria cases per year.
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious lung disease that spreads by coughing and sneezing. According to the World Health Organisation, up to two-thirds of tuberculosis patients who receive insufficient care die. Tuberculosis is a widespread health problem in Pakistan that can have long-term consequences. According to the WHO, Pakistan is ranked seventh among the 22 countries with the highest incidence of tuberculosis. Every year, around 420,000 new TB cases are reported in Pakistan. The Pakistani government launched the National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTP) to help reduce the risk of developing tuberculosis.
According to the official NTP website, it provides skill training for lab technicians, paramedics, and doctors. Under the programme, all diagnosed persons can also obtain a free supply of anti-TB drugs.
Dengue Virus
Aides mosquitos carrying the dengue virus bite people and spread dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness. It is not possible to transmit directly from one person to another. Dengue fever can be confused with the flu or other viral infections. Dengue fever, on the other hand, is a severe sort of virus that, if left untreated, can cause significant ailments such as liver enlargement and circulatory system failure. During the 2011 dengue outbreak, about 250,000 suspected cases of dengue fever were reported in Pakistan.
Dengue fever killed 348 individuals in Pakistan between 2009 and 2011. According to the WHO, Pakistan’s government improved clinical patient management, increased surveillance and general preventive measures, and implemented targeted vector control efforts to prevent future dengue fever outbreaks. In addition, the government sponsored public awareness campaigns to reduce risk.
Cancer is one of the most common health problems in Pakistan, accounting for 8% of all fatalities. Lung and breast cancer are the two most common types of cancer in Pakistan. Breast cancer affects almost one out of every nine Pakistani women, according to a recent study. Furthermore, Pakistan has the highest tobacco consumption in South Asia.
Many cancer patients are not diagnosed until they are in advanced stages, and they usually do not have access to adequate treatment. In 2013, Pakistan took an important step towards cancer prevention and control by establishing a cancer registry that collects information on cancer patients from around the country. In 2016, 18 cancer treatment centres in Pakistan were developing hospital-based registries. These hospitals provide around 80% of cancer treatment in Pakistan.
Ischemia of the Heart
Ischemic heart disease is responsible for 12.22% of all deaths in Pakistan each year. You can tell because the coronary arteries, which deliver blood to the heart muscle, are narrowed. Smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure are the three biggest risk factors in Pakistan. Heart disease, like other diseases, is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and a lack of awareness. Public health campaigns and easy access to healthcare services can considerably reduce the occurrence of such diseases.
Each year, approximately 350,000 occurrences are reported in Pakistan. The most common cause of stroke is high blood pressure. People in Pakistan do not have access to nutritious meals. A regular gambler or worker is unable to keep a healthy diet. They are unable to purchase salads or fruits. They just buy what they can afford.
High blood pressure and high blood cholesterol are the most common health problems in Pakistan, and they are caused by the consumption of low-quality oils and ghee. Ignorance is another aspect that contributes to it. People are not educated on the importance of eating healthily and living a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, they are unaware of the need of exercising and maintaining a healthy weight.
Pakistan has the greatest prevalence of diabetes in South Asia, with seven million people suffering from the disease. It is also one of Pakistan’s significant health concerns. Diabetes is a disorder in which the body’s ability to respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in improper carbohydrate metabolism and high blood and urine glucose levels.
Elevated glucose levels that go untreated can affect the body’s blood vessels and other organs. The high diabetes rate in Pakistan could be attributed to the country’s bad food industry. The Diabetic Institute of Pakistan (DIP) has been fighting diabetes since its inception in 1996. DIP provides diabetes awareness programmes to educate patients and the general public about the condition in addition to pharmaceutical services.
Hepatitis A and E are remain common infections in Pakistan, despite the availability of vaccines. It is a viral liver disease disseminated by contaminated water or poor diet. In addition to the vaccine, safe drinking water, nutritious diet, proper sanitation, and handwashing are also effective ways to combat the disease.
Hepatitis E is a liver infection that usually goes away on its own. However, it may cause abrupt liver failure. According to the WHO, East and South Asia have the highest incidence of hepatitis in the world. However, the Pakistani government is apparently using all available communication channels to enhance public awareness of hepatitis. In addition, the government provides medicine and immunisations to patients.
According to UNAIDS, there are around 100,000 HIV+ patients in Pakistan. The main cause of this disease in Pakistan is the use of contaminated syringes by drug addicts.Sindh has the highest rate of HIV infection, with over 50,000 cases. Given that the number of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Pakistan is increasing at an alarming rate each year, the government must act decisively to halt the disease’s spread.
Maternal and Child Health
Maternal health is one of Pakistan’s major health concerns. Women must fend for themselves since they lack status, and many women’s health issues are taboo. The health of a woman directly influences the health of her unborn child. The main cause of diseases affecting mothers and their new-borns’ is a lack of proper healthcare facilities in rural and other poor areas. As a result of this disregard for the baby’s health, neonatal issues account for 16.67% of all deaths.
Mother and child health is a crucial issue that impacts rural communities more than cities. Women in rural areas suffer during their pregnancies due to a lack of adequate diet, education, and care, which harms newborn health. Babies are frequently born dead or with minor to severe birth abnormalities. Maternal and child health is one of Pakistan’s significant health issues that requires quick care.
The writer is the student of department of journalism 8 semester Punjab University Lahore.

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