Authors: Nishtar S,
Address: Heartfile, Pakistan.
Journal: J Pak Med Assoc.
Publication: 2006 Dec;56(12 Suppl 4):S43-50.
Pakistan has an extensive public sector service delivery infrastructure consisting of a three tiered healthcare delivery system which includes Basic Health Units and Rural Health Centers forming The core of the primary health model, secondary care including first and second referral facilities providing acute, ambulatory and inpatient care through Tehsil Headquarter and District Headquarter hospitals and Tertiary Care comprising teaching hospitals. Notwithstanding, most people receive healthcare through private out-of-pocket payments made directly to the providers at the point of care. Recently, many attempts have been made to mainstream alternative arrangements of service delivery at various levels in order to bridge gaps in the present system of service delivery, albeit with limited success. As one of the core areas of reform-related interventions, the Gateway Paper makes a strong case for introducing change at two levels in order to obviate these issues. Firstly, at the level of hospitals the hospital sustainability reform process calls for major structural and financing adjustments, the development of appropriate policy frameworks, decentralizing hospital management to autonomous hospital boards and providing legal, managerial and fiscal autonomy to hospitals with appropriate community representation. At the primary healthcare level, a system for restructuring BHUs and RHCs has been supported--one that makes a case for appropriate checks and balances in order to ensure sustained improvements by redefining the roles of management, quality assurance, regulation and community oversight the latter through linkages with the devolution initiative. The Gateway Paper dovetails these alternative service delivery arrangements with parallel financing models.