Top Five Health Threats to Pakistanis

Alifiya Aun Ali
December 20, 2018

Statistics regarding Population of Pakistan and Initiatives were taken for health (WHO)

Total population (2017) 197 Million

Gross national income per capita (PPP international $, 2013)

Life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2016) male: 66/ Female: 67

The probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 populations, 2016) male: 178/ female: 139

Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2014) 129

Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2014) 2.6

Communicable Diseases:

Communicable diseases are spread from person to person or from animal to person. The spread of these contagious diseases or transfer can happen through the air, through contact with contaminated surfaces, or through direct contact with blood, faeces, or other bodily fluids. A cold is an example of a communicable disease (cold is the general term given to a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract) compare some other diseases are malaria and tuberculosis etc.

Non-Communicable disease (NCD)

Non-communicable diseases (NCD) are those that are not caused by infectious agents (non-infectious or non-transmissible). NCDs can refer to chronic diseases which last for long periods of time and progress slowly. Sometimes, NCDs result in rapid deaths seen in certain diseases such as autoimmune diseases, heart diseases, stroke, cancers, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, and others. Pakistan is counted among the developing countries and faces a real threat from many curable diseases as well as the issues that arise due to the change in climate.

The increasing rate of health issues in Pakistan is alarming. These health issues are leading to new kind of diseases that are difficult to treat because of the lack of finances and economic conditions. Pakistan is currently ranked at 122 out of 190 countries in terms of health care according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Little or no attention is paid to an important aspect that is to prioritize health above other expenses, we often set aside our financial emergency fund, but very rarely we keep aside funds for a medical emergency or design a contingency plan for such emergency, reason is lack of awareness of different ways we can secure ourselves against any unforeseen situation or lack at times just merely the lack of intention to do so.

Dengue fever

A disease that is transmitted through mosquito bites, dengue fever is a severe form of the virus that causes migraines, chills and loss of strength and appetite. Like malaria, it is also due to the hostile climatic changes and an environment that becomes a perfect breeding ground for mosquitos.

Health care system up gradation:

In Pakistan, a poor health care system may be responsible for the high mortality rate from dengue in previous years. The rate of mortality can be decreased by implementing timely and appropriate clinical management, which involves early clinical and laboratory diagnosis, intravenous rehydration, staff training and hospital reorganization. Health Ministry of Pakistan should plan health promotion campaigns for spreading awareness in the community to eliminate the breeding sites of mosquitoes. Improved hygienic practices, use of personal protective measures, encourage using of larvicides, surrounding cleanliness and treatment of undesired stagnant water should be the objectives of on spot awareness campaigns.

( apjtm,2018)

Personal Protection:

Preventive measures by individuals may contribute some safety. Protective clothing may reduce the risk of mosquito biting and therefore it is recommended to wear full sleeves shirts, socks and trousers. Mosquito mats, coils, aerosols and repellents are largely used for personal protection. Plant extract such as neem oil and chemical such as DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are natural and chemical repellents which provide protection, while a preventive measure is also to get a health plan for your family that protects yourself and your family in the face of an epidemic by preparing against it before time by getting a “Family Health Plan” so in the time of crisis you can rush to the hospital without worrying about anything else especially the funds arrangement, your policy card would cover all, for you.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough or any insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells causing diabetes and every case of diabetes is serious.

What are the different types of diabetes?

The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

If you have type 1diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age, People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

Type 2 diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes. According to the research conducted (Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar, 2017) based on census results of 2017 for an adult population, approximately 21.9 million were suffering from diabetes mellitus (DM), which suggests the ratio of 1:7 for diabetes prevalence among population aged 20 or above. Out of total prevalence in the latest survey, at least 17.85 percent female population is affected and 16.22 male populations are suffering from the disease.

While converting data from research to real-life situation, it is known that every known three diabetics, there were another two undiagnosed diabetics as well as two pre-diabetics. There is an increasing trend towards younger people developing diabetes as 30 per cent youngsters of aged between 20-39 years have diabetes. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National diabetes statistics report, 2017.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/data/statistics/national-diabetes-statistics-report)

As you grow older from the age of 45 years onwards there are more chances that you develop type 2diabetes have a family history of diabetes or are overweight. Physical inactivity and your lifestyle may cause the disease, you should take a preventive measure against as at times we are struck by it without even knowing it, as we grow older we should take special care, diabetes may not directly be dangerous but it can cause heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, dental disease, nerve damage, foot problems, they happen quite unexpectedly and at that time having much cash at hand is difficult due to the expenses we incur in our everyday life, plans like “PARENTS CARE” by Jubilee insurance that children can buy for their parents for the unforeseen situation, whereas this plan that has been specifically designed for Parents, keeping in mind the age and issues that comes with it, the plan also covers pre-existing conditions that come with the phase, making it an ideal plan for the parents and loved ones. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.

 

Blood Pressure

Normal blood pressure is vital to life. Without the pressure that forces our blood to flow around the circulatory system, no oxygen or nutrients would be delivered through our arteries to the tissues and organs. You can have high blood pressure or hypertension, and still feel just fine. That’s because high blood pressure often does not cause signs of illness that you can see or feel. But, high blood pressure, sometimes called “the silent killer,” is very common in older people and a major health problem.

If high blood pressure isn’t controlled with lifestyle changes and medicine, it can lead to stroke, heart disease, eye problems, kidney failure, and other health problems. High blood pressure can also cause shortness of breath during light physical activity or exercise. The National Health Survey of Pakistan estimated that hypertension affects 18% of adults and 33% of adults above 45 years old. In another report, it was shown that 18% of people in Pakistan suffer from hypertension with every third person over the age of 40 becoming increasingly vulnerable to a wide range of diseases.

It was also mentioned that only 50% of the people with hypertension were diagnosed and that only half of those diagnosed were ever treated. Thus, only 12.5% of hypertension cases were adequately controlled.

Some High Blood Pressure Risks You Can’t Change Anyone can get a high blood pressure. But, some people have a greater chance of having it because of things they can’t change. These are:

Age: The chance of having high blood pressure increases as you get older.

Gender: Before age 55, men have a greater chance of having high blood pressure. Women are more likely to have high blood pressure after menopause.

Family history: High blood pressure tends to run in some families.

Blood pressure can cause some far-reaching problems to a person and it is wise for an individual to be covered against all the health issues for e.g.: Blood pressure, Cardiac Arrest etc. that may arise with a passage of time.

Cancer (Lung and Breast Cancer)

Breast Cancer:

Breast cancer is a very serious health risk for women throughout the world, it is estimated that 1 in 9 Pakistani women develop breast cancer at some stage of their life. Experts say that the increase in the cases of breast cancer is also because most patients delay in getting help. They consider it against society’s norms to inform others about the disease or delay seeking help due to psychological barriers.

While having a contingency plan that’s to have a policy or a plan that acts as the cushion for an individual to ensure the access to best possible health facilities for example treatments like : Surgery, Radiation therapy, Chemotherapy, targeted therapy without adding more trauma to the stress that an individual is already dealing with and to make sure that one shall not have to bear the horror of losing a mother, a sister, a wife or a daughter as women in every role are precious, for these beautiful souls Jubilee insurance has come up with a plan that is specially for them “HER CARE” a plan that focuses on women and the essentiality of a custom/tailored plan that is just right for “HER” and address the needs and issues of women.

Lung Cancer

In Pakistan every year 90,000 breast cancer cases being reported in the country and over 40,000 deaths caused by it, Pakistan has the highest rate of breast cancer in Asia, though early diagnosis and proper treatment can save lives and make a difference. Lung cancer takes the lives of 100,000 people every year in Pakistan, and almost 90% of the cases are caused by chain smoking.

In South Asia, Pakistan has the highest consumption of tobacco. Today, lung cancer is one of the major causes of death all over Pakistan. It is prevalent in men as well as women, smokers as well as non-smokers. What’s more is that the survival rate of lung cancer is extremely low.

However, there is still hope as renowned institutions and hospitals are using the latest studies and advanced technical facilities to develop cures for this deadly disease, Treatment required: Surgery, Radiation therapy, Chemotherapy, targeted therapy and these treatments can be pretty heavy on the pocket and can be exhausting and extensive as well, with the emotional strain it’s an additional burden that is the monetary expense but that burden can easily be transferred buy just putting a little funds aside in the form of a policy, that is investing in a “policy” being responsible for our own self probably getting a “Personal Health Care plan” it’s just like keeping the parachute under our seats while flying even though we may not need it even once for the flight, so buying a policy would also be like transferring risk to a third party against a little amount that you pay.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a disease of poverty and poor, malnourished, diabetic patients using corticosteroid drugs, drug addicts, smokers, elderly, HIV-infected patients, alcoholics and people living in overcrowded institutions like a prison. A large number of people infected with the tuberculosis bacilli are not diagnosed earlier because of lack of awareness about the seriousness of the disease.

The delay in diagnosis along with unsupervised, inappropriate and inadequate drug regimens, poor follow up even leads to death. TB is a lung disease that is contagious and spreads by coughing and sneezing. Pakistan ranks 8 out of the 22 countries in the world that are most highly prone to tuberculosis, according to WHO.

Tuberculosis can occur in the pulmonary (lungs), respiratory, and central nervous system as well as meningitis (brain), bones, joints and other organs. Annually around 430,000 people including 15,000 children contract tuberculosis in Pakistan and every year no less than 70,000 deaths can be attributed to the disease in the country.

Pakistan is also estimated to have the fourth highest prevalence of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) globally. Over 95 percent of tuberculosis deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. Tuberculosis is a treatable disease with six months course of antibiotics. However, prevention is better than cure. It can be prevented by BCG vaccination and by awareness-raising campaigns on a mass scale.

If somebody has the symptoms of tuberculosis, one should report to the nearest health care centres to get his or her mucus tested free of cost. Tuberculosis patients should not be stigmatized and must receive full support from family and community. To reduce the prevalence of the disease in Pakistan there is an ample need to increase awareness among the public and especially among the youth through mass media and other social media channels to have the message reach to large audiences.

These are some of the major health threats that are being faced by every Pakistani; there are multiple factors responsible for such diseases, environmental, lifestyle, sanitation, unclean water, over-population, depleted un-hygienic conditions and many other factors act as an incubator to such diseases, penetrating in the society affecting the people’s health as well as their pocket expansively. An ideal solution or the best alternative to this is to “Get Insured” it will be your cushion against any such health issue that you may encounter and would ease of your financial burden in the face of an emergency.

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