Health care in Pakistan - your experience


T20I Captain
Aug 18, 2010
Post of the Week
I was in Pakistan a few years ago and fell ill after a week with food poisoning. So my family and I drove round and as we went to a few hospitals, we found out that the waiting areas were overflowing, the hospitals under-equipped and under-staffed - and this was mainly the government run hospitals.

It seems it is mainly the bigger cities, Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad where you can get good treatment but at a big cost. The quality of your medical care also depends on your connections. My cousin is a doctor in Pakistan and he says there are a lot of doctors are driven purely by money.

If it was not for some of these NGOs and charitable organisations running some of the hospitals, the people of Pakistan would receive next to nothing in terms of health care. The rural areas especially have limited access to medicine.

What has been your experiences ? Also, since there is a new party emerging in Pakistan - what is PTI policy on health ? :p
What has been your experiences ? Also, since there is a new party emerging in Pakistan - what is PTI policy on health ? :p

PTI has already been running the biggest cancer hospital in the country and providing free treatment to poor, there is no point of asking to Jayalas ( since they dont believe on life), you should have asked to PMLN supporters, do they have any plans to built hospitals outside the Raaiwind? :)
Recent experiences with family.

My Gran Sisters was diagnosed with Stomach Cancer, all the hospital staff were very helpful, unfortunately she passed away but that was the will of God, her family still thank the hospital staff for their treatment of her while she was alive.

This was near Faisalabad.
Pakistan spends 2.6% of GDP on health, one of the lowest rates of health spending in the world. Presumably PTI will increase the health budget, which is a good thing, but how will it be paid for ?

Pakistan will need to become a tax-paying nation if it is able to afford universal health care, and very few at the top pay tax right now, and have expensive lawyers/accountants who will exploit loopholes.
There is no shortage of good qualified doctors but a definite shortage of ethics and morals in Pakistan.
Bodies dumped on Nishtar Hospital’s roof in sheer violation of medical ethics, SOPs

• Punjab CM, Nishtar VC order inquiries
• Anatomy dept head denies reports of 500 bodies, claims putrefied cadavers used for ‘educational purposes’

LAHORE: After disturbing visuals of putrefied bodies supposedly abandoned on the roof of the Nishtar Hospital’s mortuary in Multan were shared on social media, a deeper look into the distressing incident reveals it is more of a case of violation of medical ethics and standard operating procedure (SOP) than anything nefarious.

Following a massive media uproar, the Punjab government also sprung into action on Friday and ordered an inquiry into the incident, while medical experts termed the whole episode “inhumane, unethical and a violation of SOPs”.

Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi also took notice of the matter and sought a report from the healthcare secretary. He said it was inhumane to throw bodies on the roof of the hospital, and strict disciplinary action should be taken against the responsible staff.

The Nishtar Medical University’s vice chancellor has constituted a three-member committee to investigate the matter. The committee members include Basic Sciences Dean Dr Abbas, associate professor Dr Ghulam Mustafa and campus in-charge Dr Tariq Saeed.

Meanwhile, Anatomy Department head Prof Dr Maryam Ashraf tried to explain in a video statement how the hospital treated unidentified and unclaimed bodies and how decaying bodies were used for educational purposes by medical students.

She said the hospital had a mortuary where unidentified and unclaimed bodies were kept, while the bodies that started decomposing were placed in airy rooms on the roof of the mortuary. She claimed some of the unclaimed bodies were used for teaching medical students, strictly under the rules and regulations of the home and health departments.

She also denied reports of the presence of over 500 bodies, maintaining that people belonging to the medical profession would understand the situation. She appealed to medical professionals to educate people about the use of cadavers for medical purposes.

Talking to the media on Friday, Adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister Tariq Zaman Gujjar said a whistleblower had tipped him off that bodies were rotting on the roof of the mortuary. He said when he reached the morgue, the staff would not open the doors. Later, he said, he found four bodies lying in the open on the roof, while 25 others were dumped in a closed room that looked like a storage area.

Mr Gujjar said he was told the bodies were used by medical students. “The bodies, after being used for educational purposes, should have been given a proper burial with funeral prayers, but they were abandoned on the roof,” he remarked.

‘Unclaimed’ bodies
Multan City Police Officer (CPO) Khurrum Shehzad Haider told Dawn the police submitted bodies to the mortuary under Section 174 of the PPC, adding they also advertised unclaimed bodies in newspapers for identification. These were handed over to their heirs after completing legal formalities.

He further explained the police received two types of bodies — those related to a crime or those that died of natural causes. “Police get a postmortem examination done on the bodies with injuries, while those that died of medical complications are submitted to the mortuary without a postmortem,” he added.

Mr Haider said currently the mortuary housed 74 bodies, including putrefied ones. “I found out that since putrefied bodies cannot be frozen, these are placed in a caged enclosure, but definitely not under the sun,” he said.

The CPO clearly stated that bodies should be preserved by implementing the SOPs and dumping them out in the open was inhuman.

To a query about police permission required for using bodies for medical purposes, he said the college did not report to them about it. However, Nishtar Hospital spokesman Dr Sajjad Masood claimed “we always write to the station house officer concerned before using bodies for educational purposes”.

Meanwhile, a former principal of Nishtar Medi*cal College, Laiq Hussain Siddiqui, told Dawn it was usual for unclaimed and unidentified bodies to be used for medical purposes by the university, but they were preserved after embalming and stressed the putrefied bodies were not thrown out in the open but kept in an airy room that was established during his tenure.

He said bodies were handed over to the college’s anatomy department to be used for teaching, while the decomposed bodies were not kept in the mortuary due to foul smell. The anatomy department used the bones of human bodies to teach medical students and such bodies were preserved by injecting chemicals into them.

Mr Siddiqui believed the number of unclaimed bodies might have increased due to the floods in south Punjab and due to their large numbers some may have been placed on the roof owing to a lack of space. “Police hand over these bodies to the hospital after making efforts to identify them and search for the heirs,” he said.

The heirs of some would often claim unidentified bodies after months. “It has happened several times that the anatomy department had to return a body to heirs even after embalming and preserving it,” he recalled.

However, from what he saw in the videos circulating on social media that showed several bodies dumped in a closed room, he was of the opinion that the hospital had committed negligence and the practice was against the SOPs.

Pakistan has slapped a ban on the companies’ sponsored foreign tours of doctors and hospital staff, ARY News reported on Monday.

"Iam directed to refer to the subject cited above and to say that in future all requests of Ex-Pakistan leave forwarded to this Ministry shall be accompanied by an affidavit by the concerned officers that their foreign visits are not for attending conferences/seminars and that the visit is not sponsored by any private company/donor etc,” the letter issued by the NIH stated.

Separately, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) recently issued a new code of conduct for pharmaceutical companies and doctors.

DRAP notified the new rules for pharmaceutical companies and doctors after getting approval from the federal government.

According to the notification, the pharmaceutical companies would not bear the travel expenses of the family and other members of doctors. Without issuing a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their respective institution, doctors would not be given the costs of foreign travel, stated in the DRAP notification.

I personally feel that imposing a ban on companies sponsoring foreign tours for doctors might hinder opportunities for valuable knowledge exchange and professional growth. While transparency is crucial, finding a balanced approach that allows for ethical collaborations could potentially benefit our healthcare system. Open dialogue and careful consideration of all aspects could lead to better decisions in navigating these complexities.
butchers and doctors are in same category unfortunately in Pakistan, no empathy in hospitals where you ate entitled or on panel, for private treatment they rinse your money like laundry.

Dr. Affan a social media hit in last year or two now getting exposed by public for just milking them ruthlessly
Govt. hospitals are too overcrowded, overwhelmed and you're likely to get fobbed off. The private sector is basically a big scam to exhort as much money out of you as possible.
here in Sindh the overcrowded government hospitals make life even more difficult for poor people.
When the so called great IK was PM there were more mice running around in hospitals then people. Nowadays, they probably have Godzilla running amok. Who cares when the elite go abroad for even a cold.
WHO warns of falsified cough syrup ingredients seized in Pakistan

The World Health Organization issued an alert on Monday warning drugmakers of five contaminated batches of propylene glycol, an ingredient used in medicinal syrups, that appear to have been falsely labelled as manufactured by Dow Chemical (DOW.N), opens new tab units in Asia and Europe.

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) issued three alerts between January and March over high levels of ethylene glycol (EG), an industrial solvent known to be toxic, found in drums purportedly made by subsidiaries of Dow Chemical in Thailand, Germany and Singapore.

DRAP sent suspect drums of propylene glycol, a sweet-tasting alcohol used in over-the-counter medicines such as cough syrups, for testing. The samples were found to have EG contamination of 0.76-100%, according to the WHO. International manufacturing standards say only trace amounts of EG, below 0.1%, can be considered safe.

Contaminated cough syrups made in India and Indonesia have been linked to deaths of more than 300 children globally since late 2022. The medicines were found to contain high levels of EG and diethylene glycol, leading to acute kidney injury and death. In the Indonesia case, authorities found that one supplier had placed false Dow Thailand labels onto drums containing EG that it sold to a distributor for pharmaceutical use.

Several of the batches seized by DRAP were labelled as having been manufactured in 2023, the WHO said, months after the agency issued a global alert calling on drugmakers to verify the quality of their suppliers.

The WHO said Dow confirmed that the materials identified in its Monday alert and found by DRAP were not manufactured, opens new tab or supplied by the company.

"The propylene glycol materials identified in this alert are considered to have been deliberately and fraudulently mislabelled," the WHO said, noting batches may have been distributed to other countries and still be in storage.

Dow did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The WHO alert comes the same week regulators in Tanzania and Rwanda joined Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa to recall batches of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), opens new tab children's cough syrup after Nigeria said it found high levels of diethylene glycol, an industrial solvent known to be toxic.

The batch of Benylin Paediatric syrup recalled was made by J&J in South Africa in May 2021, although Kenvue (KVUE.N), opens new tab now owns the brand after a spin-off from J&J last year.