Society and Norms: Medicinal and Healing Practices - Health Care System

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Health care in Pakistan tends to be inadequate and expensive. Sixty-five percent of the population lives in rural areas, while only 22% of the doctors reside in rural areas. The Pakistani government has experimented with using army personnel to provide basic health care services in rural areas. Another recent initiative, Telemedicine, is a partnership between companies in the United States and Pakistan to provide quality medical services to remote rural areas via the internet [31]. Traditional medicine, which includes homeopathic remedies and spiritual healers called Hakeems [hah-KEEMS], is often used in tribal and rural areas. Remedies include rituals, exercises, and plant, animal, and mineral based medicines. These remedies are often used to cure ailments such as infertility, epilepsy, and psychosomatic disorders.

The life expectancy at birth for Pakistanis is close to other industrialized nations, 65 for women and 63 for men. Unfortunately the infant mortality rate is high at 74.5 deaths per 1,000 births [32]. In the 1990's, Pakistan instituted a Child Survival/Primary Health Care program which led to a dramatic increase in immunized children and boosted survival rates.

Common health issues facing Pakistan today are lack of clean water, food sanitation, and too few doctors to diagnose and treat preventable diseases. The critical health problems in Pakistan are malaria, tuberculosis, intestinal disease, venereal diseases, skin disease, leprosy, and diarrheal diseases [33].

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