World Water Day: Interlacing of Water and Health

Water is the key element of life. For over a decade, March 22 has been marked as the World Water Day to high light the importance of fresh water and the importance of sustainable management this natural resource. Due to the uneven distribution of water, which is an undermining denominator of leading challenges including sanitation, […]

Gender Inequality in Emerging Markets

Fifty prominent leaders from around the world including Heartfile President, Dr Sania Nishtar, recently gathered at Green Templeton College Oxford for a symposium on Gender Inequality in Emerging Markets. The symposium explored the consequences of some sobering facts: that almost every culture is scarred by the perverted belief that women are innately or circumstantially inferior […]

Sexual Rights in the Marital Relationship: A Community based KAP survey in District Hyderabad, Sindh

In Pakistan, marriage is recognized as a legal, social and religious relationship. It is also the only relation in which sexual contact and reproduction is considered permissible and appropriate, especially for women. Most marriages in Pakistan are immediately followed by pregnancy and child birth, while various studies have highlighted the burden of adverse health outcomes […]

International Women’s Day

Heartfile, true to the 2013 theme of International Women’s Day – ‘A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women’ has been instrumental in reaching out to victims of violence in Pakistan. The story of a Heartfile Financing-supported patient I am about to share, although tragic, appropriately depicts today’s theme.  Her […]

Devolution and Health

The devolution of Health and all other social sectors from the federal to provincial tiers materialized on the 1st July 2011. It is common knowledge that the move was undertaken without the adequate necessary groundwork or preparation at either level. The former Ministry of Health was itself in a complete state of denial even shortly […]

‘Ulama’ as Agents of Social Change

Perhaps one of the most challenging public health interventions in Pakistan is building awareness of healthy behaviors and its country-wide promotion, especially when it requires accessing women in rural areas of Pakistan. Some of the common challenges faced in this aspect include the vast diversity of religious sects, low literacy rate, deteriorating security situation, elitist […]

Poor Nutrition

As the deadline towards the MDG targets approaches, Pakistan remains one of the few countries that are struggling to meet these targets, especially Goal 4 and 5, which are directly related to the quality of maternal and child nutrition. Poor nutrition is probably now the single most significant preventable cause of ill- health and early […]

Superfood for Babies: How overcoming barriers to breastfeeding will save children’s lives

Maternal, newborn and child health statistics in Pakistan have been historically appalling with little improvement seen in newborn health over the last decade. The rate of neonatal mortality reduction is estimated to be less than 1% per year during 2000-2010[1].Evidence shows that 40% of newborn deaths could be prevented through simple community based interventions. One […]

Dr. Terence Gibson on Rheumatic Diseases in Pakistan

In developing countries around the world, rheumatic diseases constitute an increasingly significant public and medical health issue. Rheumatic diseases are conditions caused by swelling, inflammation and pain in the joints or muscles of the body. Common examples of rheumatic diseases include rheumatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome and lupus. The causes are varied: some diseases such […]

The perils of ignoring health in public health

Allow me to share with you a story of a young and enthusiastic physician, fresh out of public health graduate degree from United States, with a renewed mission to serve his community.  That physician was of course me. In those days my main interest was malaria and its control. Initially I set out to ascertain […]