Governance in 2014

Part – I However, assessing governance effectiveness is a challenging task from an empirical standpoint and often information has its limitations in conveying the real impact of poor governance at the granular level – a level that can indicate the quantum of human suffering as a result. It is with a view to outlining this […]


Butchers galore

Lying in a surgical unit of the Khyber Teaching Hospital in Peshawar is an elderly woman with half her abdominal wall practically eaten away by infection – the outcome of a surgery carried out in a district hospital, which was mismanaged in the first place and became infected later. She has several gaping openings, through […]


Pakistan’s Polio Priorities

When Pakistan’s new government is sworn in on Wednesday it has a historic opportunity. The new administration under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif could be the government to eradicate polio from Pakistan, one of three countries where the crippling disease remains endemic. But they must overcome critical challenges to succeed. From providing security to health […]


The boy with the bruised lip

Ali seemed very shy. He didn’t make eye contact with the Heartfile verifier—or perhaps it was his swollen and badly bruised lip, which made him conscious. Throughout the conversation between our verifier and his mother, his gaze remained lowered, as if knowing that something is terribly wrong, and that he is responsible for it. Perhaps […]


Let’s stop ignoring this needless suffering

In most populations, more than 40% of adults aged 25 and over suffer from high blood pressure, a disease which, if left untreated, has unparalleled potential to kill and disable, inflict enormous suffering and significantly undermine quality of life. Millions of people across the world – a majority of them poor – needlessly suffer from […]


High Level Dialogue on Health in the Post 2015 Development Agenda

It was as if the High-Level Dialogue on Health in the post-2015 Development Agenda was convened in Botswana to make a point—a country, which uses diamonds for development. Through consistent economic policies, the country has developed its mining sector, which has generated the fiscal space for investments in public services, including health—a perfect example of inter-sectoral action, health in all policies, the […]


Pakistan’s Polio Tipping Point

Early this month, tragedy struck Pakistan’s polio eradication campaign once again with the killing of two more polio workers and a policeman on patrol with the vaccination teams. The latest murders in Pakistan preceded the killing of nine polio workers in Nigeria, and follow the slaying of another nine Pakistani health workers in December and […]


World Cancer Day—some personal reflections on NCDs

World Cancer Day is another occasion to recall the interconnectedness of risks, which provide an opportunity to tackle the world’s biggest killer—Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), a collective name given to ‘four diseases’ linked by ‘four lifestyle’ and ‘four biological’ risk factors. These diseases are a massive drain on health and the economy—evident in 36 million deaths […]


Mega misnomers

Pakistan’s national and human security challenges have never been so pervasive. A war along the northern borders and relentless insurgency threatens the writ of the state, pitting law-enforcement agencies against people. Vested-interest groups exploit and deepen existing polarisation on ethnic, sectarian, political and religious fronts, resulting in carnage. These problems have created unprecedented pressures on […]