A new study has claimed that Pakistan had largely been successful in controlling infectious diseases over the years, but the country is now struggling with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer as causes of early death.
The study has been conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine in collaboration with Aga Khan University and Federal Health Ministry.
According to the study, five non-communicable diseases – heart disease, stroke, congenital defects, cirrhosis, and chronic kidney ailment– are among the top 10 causes of early death in Pakistan.
However, the study has also noted that Pakistan’s efforts have led to an increase in life expectancy from 61.1 years to 65.9 years over the past 30 years. Despite this progress, Pakistan’s life expectancy is still lower than the global average.
The study has also warned that non-communicable diseases will be the leading causes of death in Pakistan by 2040 and the country will continue to face infectious diseases.
It stated that Pakistan, with a population nearing 225 million, also faces the challenges of climate change and natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. These events have affected major health policies and reforms in the country.
The study has also pointed out that Pakistan’s health challenges have been worsened by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating floods of last summer.
The study adds that pollution is a leading contributor to disease in recent years, citing smog in Lahore, which has earned the title of the world’s most polluted city.
Researchers have suggested that Pakistan should focus on addressing infectious diseases and controlling the rise of non-communicable diseases in order to move towards universal health coverage.