Healthcare in Pakistan

Healthcare is an area that requires significant focus in Pakistan given the country’s high rates of infant and maternal mortality:

  • Infant mortality rate for children under the age of 5 is 81 for every 1,000 live births [Source : World Bank]
  • Maternal mortality rate is 178 per every 100,000 women [Source : World Bank]

A comparison of infant and maternal mortality rates of Pakistan against other regional countries is shown on the right.
Additionally, doctors and drugs are main challenges in quality assurance.

  • Estimated number of registered doctors – 177, 289 [Source : Pakistan Medical & Dental Council]
  • Estimated number of unregistered doctors is more than 200,000, therefore the chances of finding a qualified doctor is around 53%
  • A CNN report estimates that 45 – 50% of the medicines are fake or substandard
  • These realities are even more prominent in an urban slum therefore, chances of finding a qualified doctor and legitimate medicine further reduced

These dynamics, mostly visible in low-income areas can have catastrophic implications for families in cases of sudden illnesses:

  • 8% of the population incurs out-of-pocket (OPP) expenses for healthcare in Pakistan, the largest among regional countries [Source: World Bank]
  • High level of OOP expenditure leads to compromises in healthcare, education and food provision

Good health and education systems require investments in all three categories – tertiary, secondary and primary. As illustrated in the figure on the right, there is a presence of centers of excellence in both health and education at tertiary and secondary levels. There are large scale quality systems operating at the primary level in education; however, in primary healthcare there is an absolute vacuum as there is no large-scale quality-managed network present. It is critical that this vacuum is filled particularly in low income areas to serve as a robust first port of call. This is exactly what SINA aims to achieve.