“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”

― Voltaire

The UN fact sheet has recorded an addition of a population of nearly 76 million people per annum. This figure is expected to cross 9.2 billion in 2050 which will be disastrous for developing countries. In Pakistan, healthcare organizations are taking initiatives to control the birth rate and create awareness among the people. It has been estimated that the maternal mortality ratio in Pakistan is 276 per 100,000. In Balochistan specifically,  the maternal mortality ratio is 600 per 100,000 due to poor condition of hospitals, low number of midwives, low literacy rate, and underage marriages.

Balochistan’s population of roughly more than eight million is deprived of every single health facility. People of Balochistan have to travel thousands of kilometers for medical treatment to either Quetta or Karachi. They are suffering from diseases such as polio, malaria, AIDS, measles, hepatitis and women usually die in childbirth due to above mentioned reasons. Balochistan has only six major hospitals which are located in the capital of the province, Quetta. There isn’t a single decent hospital outside Quetta. The gravity of the situation becomes clearer when we consider that the people of the largest province did not have an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the whole of Balochistan before last year when the first ICU was established after the Quetta carnage last year. Since 1947, there was no trauma hospital, no cardiology hospital, not even a single ICU, and who was to be blamed? Politicians, Sardars, Federal Government, Dictators, Military or the people of Balochistan?

Every year, the budget allocated to the civil hospital and BMC is equal to the sum of Rs.1 billion and still the condition of X-ray machines is so vulnerable. The hospital doesn’t even have good beds to accommodate patients, and doctors often complain about the poor equipment given to them for treatment. There are 3415 beds in all hospitals which means one bed for 2354 persons. Moreover, one lady health worker for every 20000 people. Health is a basic facility which government of Pakistan must provide to people of the country but the situation in Balochistan is miserable.

The current Health Minister of Balochistan, Rehmat Saleh Baloch announced today that they will appoint 216 doctors on ad hoc basis to provide basic health facilities in the remote areas of the province. He further said that “The new appointees are directed to make sure their presence in their respective districts on the emergency basis to provide better health care to the people of Balochistan. People have a very important role to monitor the doctors’ presence in their districts and lodge complains if any doctor shows negligence in duty.”

Doctors will be appointed in Quetta, Musa Khail, Zhob, Washuk, Shaheed Sikandarabad, Jhal Magsi, Naseerabad, Suhbat Pur, Duki, Sherani, Kharan, Naushki, Pishin, Qilla Abdullah, Gawadar, Jeewni, Awaran.

Appointment on merely ad hoc basis again raises questions about permanent facilities in Balochistan. If the government does not provide basic facilities, god forbid resentments might foster and the seeds of separatist nationalism could begin to flourish again.


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