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Pakistan’s Trade in Health Services with India
By: SDPI

Partner: The Asia Foundation, India Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER)

Locale: Pakistan, India

Time Frame: November 2015 – April 2017

Project Team:  Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Dr. Shehryar Khan, Rabia Manzoor, Maryum Waqar

Introduction:

The project aims to analyze the scope of health services trade between India and Pakistan. Currently, limited data exists on the actual volume and value of trade, including the flow of patients across borders, number of visas issued annually for medical purposes, number of ongoing collaborations on medical research, the scope and demand for trade in pharmaceuticals, and the amount of medical equipment and surgical tools manufactured in both countries. More importantly, no analysis of the business process has been conducted for import of these goods and services including the costs of doing business in health services, costs of trade in pharmaceutical and surgical products. It would not be possible to identify key reforms related decisions needed to facilitate bilateral trade without collecting and analyzing information on these business processes. Through Key Informant Interviews, SDPI will engage with at least 100 informants in Pakistan, drawn from various stakeholder constituencies.

Objectives:

Identifying key decisions that governments of India and Pakistan need to take to rapidly increase the total trade in health services between the two countries.

To pursue targeted reforms through a people-to-people approach that engages key stakeholders as well as broader public constituencies in India and Pakistan.

Sustain the engagement between stakeholders in India and Pakistan through websites, social media, and continued policy engagement.
Activities
  • Key Informative Interviews held with Indian High Commission officials, Ministry of Commerce (MoC) officials in Islamabad, doctors of public and private hospitals ( especially hospital administrators), agents and personnel of pharmaceutical and surgical companies in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi.
Findings
1. Key Bottlenecks in Health Services Trade
  • Problems associated with visa
  • Informational difficulties
  • Transactional complications
  • Trust deficit and fear of harassment
  • Challenges in Transfer of Skills and Technology
  • Barriers to Movement of Health Personnel
  • Accreditation and recognition of health care standards
2. Reforms in Health Services Trade
  • Institutional Linkages
  • Synergies between different departments
  • Public and Private Health Care Partnerships
  • Working groups under Joint Business Council
  • According priority to health services in trade policy