Bump in the way of growth and progress

According to media reports, initial figures generated by the ongoing census put the country’s population at 235 million, a whopping increase of 27 million or 12.98 per cent since 2017. And there is already a hue and cry over the official data being supposedly well below the actual numbers. By the time the final count is announced, we may have an astounding shock to deal with. Being a practising doctor and someone who has been actively involved with the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) for the last four decades, I feel not only worried, but concerned and scared because the impact of uncontrolled population spike inevitably falls mainly on health and education sectors.
Let us take education first. The national literacy rate is 58pc, which is the lowest in South Asia; and if we go for the standard of education, it might be among the lowest, if not the lowest, in the world. In a country where 26 million children are out of school and the remaining are not receiving quality education, the situation is far from being satisfactory regardless of the definition one might prefer to use to describe the term ‘satisfactory’.
Private-sector education is so expensive that an average breadwinner in a family with four to five children can barely afford the expenses. There is no organised system of giving vocational training to these young children. The overall picture is grim, and there is no sign of improvement in sight.
As for the healthcare system, it is unfortunately one of the worst and that explains the seriously, rather embarrassingly pathetic health indicators, especially infant and maternal mortality rates. According to the Health of the Nation 2023 report produced by PMA, our 80pc of the population has no access to clean drinking water.
Waterborne diseases are common and so are polio, typhoid, hepatitis, cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, tuberculosis, kidney diseases, chest diseases, diabetes, hypertension, mental health conditions, cancers, especially oral cancer. Most of these diseases are preventable with vacci-nations and lifestyle modifications.
We are fortunate that the country has a fairly organised system of public-private partnership, and some individuals as well as welfare organisations provide healthcare services either free or against fairly subsidised charges. That is actually the only reason the system is still alive. Otherwise, the situation would have been much uglier than what it is right now.

Previous article
Next article
Editor's Mail
Editor's Mail
You can send your Editor's Mail at: [email protected].


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

Navigating Misgovernance in the Energy Sector

Navigating the intricate labyrinth of energy reforms is a daunting task, especially in a dynamic country like Pakistan. Here, the energy sector seems to...

Off to the World Cup

Epaper_23-09-28 LHR

Epaper_23-09-28 KHI