0637 GMT February 25, 2020
Statistics reveal that the incidences of communicable diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, dengue fever, typhoid, viral hepatitis and a number of other infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites remained on the rise in 2019 while a rising trend of non-communicable diseases particularly heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, hypertension and cancer was recorded last year, thenews.com.pk reported.
In 2019, the population in the country had to face the worst ever outbreak of dengue fever with not less than 52,000 confirmed cases of the infection while the infection claimed well over 100 lives, over 40 in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
The number of dengue fever cases set a new record in the federal capital, Rawalpindi in the Punjab Province, Peshawar in KP and Karachi in Sindh last year putting a tremendous burden on public sector healthcare facilities that had to create space in different departments to accommodate patients with the infection.
The burden of cancer patients and incidences of heart diseases also recorded a great increase in almost all major cities of the country and according to an estimate, 30 to 40 percent of all deaths in Pakistan were due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in 2019 amounting to not less than 200000 deaths in the country.
Data collected by ‘The News’ reveals that Cardiac Center at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) recorded well over 40 percent increase in number of heart patients in 2019 as the PIMS outpatient department received over 180000 patients in one year of which 90 per cent were found to be heart patients after examination.
The PIMS cardiac centre performed open heart surgeries on as many as 300 cardiac patients in last one year while over 3000 procedures involving placement of stents (stenting) were performed.
There have been a huge number of patients on waiting list of Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology waiting for surgeries and patients had to wait for months for their turn. Estimates show that coronary heart disease is now the leading cause of death in Pakistan and at least 12 Pakistani die every hour due to heart attack.
Experts pointed out that the incidence of breast carcinoma is increasing alarmingly among female population of Pakistan and the issue must be given due attention as one out of every eight females in Pakistan is at risk of falling prey to breast cancer that has emerged as a serious health threat in recent years.
The number of cases of cancer was on the rise in 2019 but little efforts were made to accommodate patients in public sector. There is only a single oncology department operating in public sector in this region of the country at PIMS with 18 beds in all to cater to the needs of well over five million people living in the region.
According to various reports, well over 200,000 new cases of cancer were reported in Pakistan in 2019 and over 120,000 people died of various cancers last year.
Many health experts say that there is a need of developing strategies for the next year by keeping in mind the key public health issues of the previous years but it seems as the concerned authorities do not give attention to the statistics regarding rising trend of certain communicable and non-communicable diseases nor the authorities have worked ideally to develop registries at national level to get accurate data of patients.
Like the past years, the epidemic tobacco use, deadly tuberculosis, the link between social factors and health, unequal access to health care, and a rise in chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer remained the issues to be resolved in Pakistan.