Achievements of Healthcare Services Vis-À-Vis the Millennium Development Goals Targets: Evidence from Pakistan
This study investigates the impact of public healthcare facilities and socio-economic circumstances on the status of child health in Pakistan. The complete analysis is carried out in correspondence with fourth and sixth millennium development goals. Further, the health variables chosen are also inherited from targeted indicators of the mentioned goals (MDGs). Trends in the Human Opportunity Index (HOI) for both health inequalities and coverage are analyzed using the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PLSM) data set for 2001-02 to 2012-13 at the national and provincial level. To reveal the relative importance of each circumstance in achieving the targeted values for child health, Shorrocks decomposition is applied on HOI. The annual point average growth rate of HOI is used to simulate the time period for the achievement of target set by MDGs and universal access also. The results indicate an improvement in HOI for a reduction in child mortality rates from 52.1% in 2001-02 to 67.3% in 2012-13, which confirms the availability of healthcare opportunities to a larger segment of society. Similarly, immunization against measles and other diseases such as Diphtheria, Polio, Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), and Hepatitis has also registered an improvement from 51.6% to 69.9% during the period of study at the national level. On a positive note, no gender disparity has been found for child health indicators and that health outcome is mostly affected by the parental and geographical features and availability of health infrastructure. However, the study finds that this achievement has been uneven across provinces. Pakistan is not only lagging behind in achieving its health goals, disappointingly with the current rate of health care provision, but it will take many additional years to achieve its targets.
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