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J Pak Med Assoc. 2006 Dec;56(12 Suppl 4):S51-65.

The Gateway Paper--preventive and promotive programs in Pakistan and health reforms in Pakistan.

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Heartfile, Pakistan.


Pakistan's public health interventions include a range of programs lead by the federal government with implementation arms at the provincial and district levels. Some of the programs are disease specific such as the respective programs on HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, non-communicable diseases and Hepatitis; others are specific to life cycle domains such as in the case of maternal and child health whereas still others such as the National Program for Family Planning and Primary Healthcare and the National Expanded Program for Immunization are cross-cutting. Although these programs have contributed to improving health outcomes at intermediate outcomes level, a number of critical impediments to maximizing their impact have been noted. These include lack of integration, institutional impediments to the implementation of programs with particular reference to problems at the federal/provincial level and unrealized implications of federal programs at the provincial level are amongst the foremost. These have been further compounded by the addition of another service delivery tier in Pakistan's health system through the introduction of the devolution initiative. Furthermore, the unsustainable and under-utilized BHUs which serve as the service delivery base of these programs add to the problems. The Gateway Paper makes a number of recommendations to obviate these issues such as recommendations to integrate programs, strengthen surveillance systems, and with reference to obviating issues to implementation, emphasis is laid on decentralizing decision-making and central control, institutionalizing managerial audit, and prioritizing specific governance and management reforms. The Paper also stresses on the need for establishing a national coordination mechanism for fostering federal/provincial harmony and ensuring the creation of appropriate counterpart institutional arrangements in the provinces and districts. Recommendations on restructuring BHUs at a management, oversight, quality related and community participation level will play a vital role in determining the manner in which the efficiency of these public health programs can be enhanced.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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