By: Mohammad Ishaq Nasar
Balochistan is regarded as one of the largest unit of Pakistan in terms of area. It covers landmass of 347,190 square km which is one and a half times greater than the UK. Beyond doubt, the Province is widely enriched in all sorts of minerals resources. Strategically, it has prodigious importance as it connects land lock countries with Arabian Sea and Middle East with East Asian world. In addition to this, lucrative Gwadar port holds central attention of the entire hegemonics across the globe. Here one thing is of urgent importance that despite rich in resources why poverty is deeply entrenched in the province? Why majority of people are still deprived of their basic necessities? Why there is a lax behavior of those at the helm of the affairs?
Notwithstanding, the Province is far lagging behind in all spheres of life. The indispensable sectors like Health and education are in shabby condition in the beleaguered province. According to BBC report only 5 hospitals out of 28 contain professional doctors and the rests are deprived of even basic amenities. Recently, more than 900 vacancies have been created in health department and announcement is yet to be made, Similarity, the doctor to patient ratio reached to 1:1400 and Nurse to patient ratio 1:80 in the province. The Provincial headquarter merely holds five hospitals which are usually jam-packed with Afghan refugees or wounded of various blasts.
Apart from this, the district headquarters hospitals of Loralai, Khuzdar, Kech, Nasarbad and Kila Saifullah are deprived of necessary medicine and equipment facilities. The quake doctors and counterfeit pharmacies are found everywhere in the province. People of the area are frequent visitors of Karachi and Punjab for medical checkup. According to a comprehensive report published in the pages of this newspaper divulged bare fact that around 11.2 million kids died before age of five. The Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) is alarming with 779/100000 live births while Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is 97/100 live births. Moreover, numerous far-flung areas are still dearth of even single hospital facility.
Needless to say, the deplorable condition of education sphere mired entire province into quagmire of ignorance and darkness. In year 2013-14,Pakistan Social and Living Measurement survey (PSLM) conducted by Pakistan Statistics Bureau (PSB) revealed ignominious reality about declining literacy rate and gross enrolment rate (GER) by 3% and 6% respectively. However, this uneven decline took place in the meantime when government imposed education emergency in the province. The number of ghost schools and teachers are also disseminated from 15000 to 15080 and 900 to 934 in last two years. Furthermore, the curse of cheating and imprisoning instead of diminishing further spiraled out.
From this entire debate one thing is crystal clear that the incumbent allied government miserably failed to uplift retreating condition of both these pivotal departments. All the tall claims of government to a moderate health, education and security situation evidently went in the air. Despite lapse of four years the provincial government does not take any sophisticated measure to rehaul the structure of both these faltering sectors.
Merely exposing loopholes and flaws inflicted in our education and health sectors are not the durable panacea for this deep-rooted scourge. The mandatory and stern actions are the pressing need of hour to put on the province on the path of socio-economic progress. The heavy responsibility lies on the shoulder of incumbent provincial Government to equip health department with modern and contemporary facilities. There should be a proper financial management of available resources in the province. Moreover, the annual budget earmarks in these sectors should be increased up to handsome amounts. Equip people and skill them via education so that they fully reap the entire benefits of CPEC. Failure in these efforts may go down the drain of this entire benifits of CPEC.
It is prudently remarked that in modern era the civility and advancement of a nation can be gauged from the fact that how much budget the corresponding nation spend on its health and education spheres.
Mohammad Ishaq Nasar belongs to Loralai District of Balochistan, currently he is doing BS Political Science in Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad.
Published in The Balochistan Point on March 4, 2017