Pakistan

Official Name Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Total area 796,095 sq km
Population 193,238,868 (July 2013 est.)
Capital City Islamabad

Map

Background

After gaining independence in 1947, the separation of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with West and East sections) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved. Consequently, India and Pakistan fought two wars over the disputed Kashmir territory. A third war between these countries in 1971, in which India exploited the marginalization of Bengalis in Pakistani politics, lead to Eastern Pakistan becoming the separate nation of

Bangladesh

Pakistani government and military are struggling to control domestic insurgents mostly situated in tribal regions neighboring the border with Afghanistan. In January 2012, Pakistan assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2012-13 term.

Economy

Due to decades of internal political differences along with decreased foreign investment, Pakistan has experienced slow growth and underdevelopment.
The agricultural sector is responsible for more than 20% of output and 40% of employment. Textiles account for most of Pakistan’s export earnings, although the failure to enlarge a sustainable export base for other manufactures has left it susceptible to shifts in global demand.
Over the past few years, high inflation led by a rise in food prices, has increased the amount of poverty – estimated at nearly 50% of the population.
While the economy has stabilized after the 2008 crisis, it has failed to recover. Foreign investment has not returned, due to investor concerns related to governance, energy, security, and a slow-down in the global economy. Remittances from overseas workers, averaging about $1 billion a month since March 2011, continue to be an optimistic input for Pakistan. Other long term challenges include escalating investment in education and health sectors, adaptation to the effects of climate change and natural disasters, and the reduction of reliance on foreign donors.

Health

Healthcare in Pakistan is provided largely in the private sector, around 80% of all outpatient visits. Until recently, the public sector was managed by the Ministry of Health, however, the Ministry was abolished in June 2011 and all health responsibilities were decentralized into provincial Health Departments. Similar to other South Asian countries, the health and sanitation infrastructure is satisfactory in urban areas but is largely poor in rural areas.

Major infectious diseases:
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

Malaria Status

Malaria affects mainly the lower-class people in Pakistan. Unsanitary environments and stagnant water bodies in rural areas and urban slums provide excellent breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Recently, the usage of nets and mosquito repellents has become more common. Malarial incidence is characteristically unstable and major transmission period is after monsoon season (from August to November), usually reaching its peak in September. Major vector species show significant drug resistance (chloroquine resistance) prevalent throughout the country where the levels in the western border areas are very significant.
The overall number of confirmed malaria cases for 2011, in all of Pakistan’s districts (public sector), were 319,592; 67% of the cases were due to P. vivax infection and 33 % were a result of P. falciparum infection. An estimated 70% to 80% of the population goes to private sector for treatment, hence, according to a conservative estimate, the actual malaria burden could be four to five times greater.
As the main transmission season coincides with the sowing and harvesting of the main crops, the malariogenic prospects of Pakistan has an adverse bearing on its socio-economic growth and productivity. The main determining factors behind the high endemicity of Pakistan’s districts are: the vectors’ high level of resistance to antimalarial drugs and insecticides, resistance irrigation systems, drought, and population movements. Reduced access to effective treatment and prevention measures, as well as early diagnostic tools have further complicated the situation.

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