Health facilities for rural poor in our country in the present state are in total disarray.The private sector does not find it financially viable to set up medical facilities in villages. The Basic Health Units and Rural dispensaries, set up by the provincial and district governments in some villages, mostly have no doctors and the patients are left to the mercy of dispenses or quacks. The young doctors do not want to work in these locations because of lack of proper residential and other infrastructure. Buildings of many of these facilities are in a dilapidated state. These state run institutions do not even have minimum medical equipment like X -ray machines or other equipment prescribed in their own policies. They do not have ambulance facilities to take patients requiring emergency treatment to a hospital. Non-availability of medical advice and medicines to the poor from these institutions has led to rise in mortality rates as well as increase in incidence of diseases. Added to this is the lack of proper sewerage and sanitation in addition to inability of local governments to provide clean drinking water in small and even district towns. This has caused increase in water borne diseases. It is obvious that the present system of government managed medical system in our rural areas cannot deliver. The feudal barons have no interest in providing medical support from their coffers and live in luxury homes in major towns. In some countries agro based industrial units set up in rural areas provide health and educational facilities to the local communities as a part of corporate social responsibility, something not common here. We need fresh thinking with dedicated organizations having strong volunteers corps to build rural health structure; their functions would be multifarious including advocacy, financial and administrative management and technical support.
Former Secretary Statistics Division
Government of Pakistan