July 17, 2024

The Health

Your health, your choice

Call to address women’s health issues


The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) launched the first phase of its transformative consultation conference series, titled ‘The Next Horizon’, aiming to create a comprehensive National Agenda for Women and Girls in Pakistan on Tuesday.

It recommended advocating for increasing the health budget allocation to at least 10% of the development budget and 5% of GDP.

The series began with a health conference ‘Inclusive Healthcare for Women: Paving the Way Forward’, organised in collaboration with UNFPA and Pathfinder.

Nilofar Bakhtiar, Chairperson of NCSW, opened the session by highlighting the urgent need to address the pressing health issues facing women in Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, Ahsan Iqbal, reiterated the government’s dedication to advancing women’s health. He said, “Our commitment lies in implementing strong policies and investing in healthcare infrastructure to guarantee that every woman in Pakistan has access to quality healthcare.”

Special Secretary, Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination, Waqarul Hassan, and Lt-General (retd) Nigar Johar also addressed the participants.

Moreover, renowned actress and activist Nadia Jamil shared her inspiring personal journey through breast cancer.

The conference featured thematic working group sessions that delved into various aspects of women’s health. These included discussions on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), nutritional disparities, common communicable and non-communicable diseases and emotional and mental health.

Some of the recommendations included advocating for increasing the health budget allocation to at least 10% of the development budget and 5% of GDP, non-politicised recruitment for healthcare professionals, access to mental health services at secondary and tertiary levels, inter-provincial health programmes that can be monitored, improved and replicated, enhancing coordination between women’s health departments and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority to accommodate internally displaced expecting mothers to be given proper and urgent care.

Further, prioritise and invest in digital health solutions to enhance women’s healthcare services across far-flung areas, social protection, safety and security and life and health insurance schemes for primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare professionals, incentivised programmes for healthcare professionals to serve in the marginalised communities across Pakistan and special nutritional programmes for mother and child across all provinces.