Aga Khan University’s Faculty of Health Sciences Research Committee held a seminar on May 18, 2012 on Economics of Health and Health care in Pakistan to discuss health care financing, challenges to health systems and future of health economics and policy.
“Allocation of appropriate funds to the health sector remain as low as one per cent of the GDP over the last decade. The budget allotted to the health sector is not fully utilized and a gap of 15 to 20 per cent between allocation and expenditure still exists”, explained Ashar Malik, Senior Instructor, Community Health Sciences, Aga Khan University.
Issues ranging from meagre allocations of resources, weak management of health care facilities, corruption, poor human resource planning, inefficient primary health care, lack of accountability, weak regulation of pharmaceutical industry, unethical and uncontrolled medical practice in the health sector all came up for discussion.
The concept of health economics and its significant contribution to ensuring efficient and equitable health care in many developed and developing countries was also noted. However, for Pakistan this is quite a new discipline and very few people are aware of the application of economics principles to health care.
By bringing together prominent health sciences and economic experts belonging to the private and public sector, the event successfully created awareness among physicians and the media about the changes in health care policy arising after the ratification of the 18th amendment, promoted a consensus to push for adequate spending on the health sector as well as put forward recommendations for solving the problems in the sector. The proceedings of the seminar were also documented and will soon be presented to policy makers and researchers. This will be further followed up by improving systemic linkages with other academic institutions and the government.
Additionally, presentations on the implications of the 18th amendment on the health care sector, universal health coverage, pharmaceutical trade and delivery of health care, economics of non-communicable diseases and health sector reforms in Sindh were also part of the event.
Rida Turabi, Senior Media Executive, Department of Public Affairs, Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi, on +92 21 3486 2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org