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Our Correspondent

The Express Tribune

Published Date: Jan 15, 2021

Experts highlight need to prioritise health spending

The society needs to change its behaviour towards health spending to face the emerging health and nutrition challenges after the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to policy level response by the governments, universal health coverage has become need of hour to respond to needs of the citizens. Noted physicians and experts from the health sector said this while sharing their views with the participants of Universal Health Coverage and Nutrition Integration – Challenges to Health Systems in Pakistan During Covid-19, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Thursday. Prof Shehzad A Khan, from Health Services Academy (HSA) said the health and nutrition indicators are very poor in Pakistan.

“We need to combine health and nutrition and government’s spending in the sector must be enhanced.” Dr Farkhanda Ather, from Mercy Corps, said the pandemic has resulted in even lesser access to healthcare facilities for expecting women.

Therefore, this issue needs immediate attention and the private sector should also help in this regard. SDPI Senior Research Fellow Dr Shafqat Munir was if view that health financing has become an urgent need in after Covid-19 pandemic.

“The situation in healthcare sector was not ideal even in pre-pandemic scenario,” Dr Munir said and added that the government’s resolve for ensuring Universal Health Coverage to all is however an encouraging aspect. Noted nutritionist Dr Aaliya Habib on the occasion appreciated the response from mainstream political parties towards improving the nutrition related situation in the country. QAU Prof Waheed Chaudhry, said that behavioral change should be focused to improve the nutrition of the people.