|Leading Causes of Premature Deaths in Pakistan|
Pakistan ranks in the middle among 15 similar countries compared by the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010). Other countries in this group include India, Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Moldova, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Island, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen.
The fact that Pakistan ranks near the middle and outranks India among 15 similar countries in terms of disease burdens is a surprise given the reality that Pakistan spends just $58.27 per person on health (including the government contribution of $22.59) , less than half of neighboring India's per capita health spending of $132.20, which includes $38.57 from the government. Some of the differences in health outcomes may be attributable to nutrition, sanitation and environment.
In addition to reducing violent deaths by improving security, Pakistan needs to spend a lot more on health and education to enhance the quality and productivity of its human resources. Looking at examples of nations such as the Asian Tigers which have achieved great success in the last few decades, the basic ingredient in each case has been large social sector investments they have made. It will be extremely difficult for Pakistan to catch up unless similar investments are made by Pakistani leaders.
|Pakistan's HDI grew an average rate of 2.7% per year under President Musharraf from 2000 to 2007, and then its pace slowed to 0.7% per year in 2008 to 2012 under elected politicians. Earlier in 1990s, the increase in Pakistan's HDI was just 9.3% from 1990 to 2000, less than half of the HDI gain of 18.9% on Musharraf's watch from 2000 to 2007.|
As Pakistanis prepare to go to the polls on May 11, it is important that the voters demand an explanation from the incumbent political parties for their extremely poor performance in the social sector. Without accountability, these politicians will continue to ignore the badly needed investments required to develop the nation's human resources for a better tomorrow. Forcing the political leaders to prioritize social sector development is the best way to launch Pakistan on a faster trajectory.
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