Published On: Fri, Jan 15th, 2021
Published in Category: Islamabad

Health experts highlight need of prioritizing health & nutrition in the country

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ISLAMABAD : To face the emerging health and nutrition challenges amid Covid-19, behavioral change in society has a key role to play in addition to policy level response by the governments. Besides, universal health coverage has become need of hour to respond to needs of the citizens. The 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’, organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Thursday.

Professor Dr. Shehzad A Khan, from Health Services Academy (HAS), by covering various aspects of healthcare infrastructure in Pakistan, said that all the indicators in health and nutrition are very poor. Therefore, we need to prioritize healthcare sector to bring a real change in this scenario. He said that we also need to combined health and nutrition and government’s spending in the sector must be enhanced.

Dr. Farkhanda Ather, from Mercy Crops, while highlighting the plight of mothers and children, the problems in healthcare sector have been intensified further. She said that the phenomenon has resulted as even lesser access to healthcare facilities for expecting women. Therefore, this issue needs immediate attention and regularizing private sector would also help in this regard.

Senior Research Fellow SDPI, Dr. Shafqat Munir was if view that health financing has become an urgent need in after Covid-19 era and thus, policy measures should be taken to improve the existing situation. He said that such policy measures are also important to fulfill SDGs related commitments.

“The situation in healthcare sector sector has not been ideal even in pre-Covid-19 scenario and the pandemic has intensified the problems manifold,” 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.

Professor Dr. Waheed Chaudhry, Associate Professor, Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU), Islamabad, emphasized on the need of social reconstruct and said that behavioral change should be focused to improve the nutrition of the masses and thus, to enable them to better prepare in the face of diseases.

Dr. Ayesha Baber Kawish, Head of Public Health, Al-Shifa, also highlighted the importance of better dietary habits and said that awareness in this regard should be raised at every level. Shahid Minhas, from SDPI, earlier highlighted various aspects of the topic and said that we need to broaden the discourse on this important national issue.