Health and education are not our priority, says PMA’s Dr Qaisar

Ali Ousat Staff Reporter

28th Oct, 2021. 06:01 pm

Pakistan Medical Association’s Dr Qaisar Sajjad. Photo: Athar Khan/Bol News

KARACHI: Dr Qaisar Sajjad is an ENT and head and neck surgeon and secretary general of Pakistan Medical Association (Centre). He is also an elected member of the governing body of the Arts Council and head of Arts Council’s Medical and Social Welfare committee. He completed his MBBS from Sindh Medical College. He is known for raising his voice for better health facilities for common people. Here he talks to Bol News about the key health issues confronting the country.

Q. Why could the government not improve health facilities in Pakistan?

In fact, as a nation health and education [are] not our priority. Therefore, such facilities in our country [are] on the verge of collapse. There is no political will for the betterment of common people. We are constructing shopping malls, plazas, and other infrastructure, but neglect hospitals. There is even shortages of medicines and other facilities. So there is a dire need for political will for the improvement of health facilities.

Q. After 18th Amendment health became a provincial subject, is it a good decision?

I think there is no improvement even after 18th Amendment. We have witnessed the rift between the federal and provincial government during the time of pandemic. Both of them blamed each other and maligned political parties — some wanted to impose strict lockdown while others did not. We are so unlucky that our political parties are using health for political scoring and thereby ruining an already collapsed system.

Q. Why does the government not increase the health budget?

Pakistan Medical Association has always demanded six per cent of total GDP for health services since day one but the government did not allocate even one per cent of the GDP. After the 18th Amendment less than 0.7pc has been allotted for health which is the main cause of deteriorating health system.

Q. What can the government do in these circumstances?

In my opinion, the government must act logically and place emphasis on prevention of disease instead of cure. I mean they must provide clean drinking water and apply methods to get rid of mosquitos. If we clean our environment we can eliminate diseases such as malaria, dengue, chikungunya, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A, B and C etc. According to our statistics three million people are affected every year due to these preventable diseases and a large number of them die every year. Above all, our hospitals are overburdened, staff are overworked and there is a lack of medicine, so the only solution is prevention.

Q: What is your message for youth?

My young fellows must sleep early and wake up early in the morning, walk at least for 40 minutes and go for some outdoor sports like cricket, football and swimming. They must stop eating pan, gutka, chaliya, avoid cigarettes and focus on studies. Someone who does not sleep at night cannot survive after 60 years. They develop high blood pressure, sugar, and brain disease. If you are a journalist, doctor or watchman, you have to stay awake till midnight, but do not linger on for chatting. Live healthily.

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