Food, clothes, and shelters are the basic necessities of human beings. But these could be achieved if one has financial resources. Basic healthcare and basic education are also necessities and in developed countries, they are ensured by the state. But, private educational institutions and expensive hospitals charge high fees and people will be made to spend all their savings, so in short, the money will be needed to fulfill the needs and to guarantee a relaxed life.
In Pakistan unfortunately, these two basic departments of health and education are being badly managed and even basic provision of both is not provided to the masses. In turn, people are exploited and availing basic healthcare becomes a huge task. Private hospitals prioritize charging high fees and treatment is secondary for them. Even a small clinic is not regulated and everyone charges how much fee they want. Charging heavy fees by the doctors, especially the specialist doctor is a small thing now. These hospitals have become the center of human exploitation with a special disguise of providing healthcare to people.
“The poor should not come to this hospital, as this hospital is for rich” a news agency covered the news about the expensive hospitals in Lahore recently, who were notorious for providing expensive health care services. Even at the smallest scale, a private doctor in a rural area is also fond of charging high fees from the impoverished families.
A common practice is observed throughout healthcare facilities. Private hospitals of few rooms are established with few labs, X-Ray rooms, Emergency and operation theatre, and OPD, etc. If a patient of even seasonal flu enters the hospital, he is told to get admitted and different tests are prescribed. When he is discharged, the fee to be paid is in lacs of rupees. The charges will include enrollment fee, laboratory fee, services charges, food charges, X-Ray fee, doctor fee and of course the room fee.
Specialized and Foreign qualified doctors are advertised by the hospitals for their big name and they are only part of visiting faculty of these private hospitals and their fees are beyond the approach of the common man.
A famous doctor who was the part of the federal government had his own hospital in Sindh. Similarly, many other famous personalities own their own hospitals and use their name to extract cash from people. This issue is widespread and the question arises that what to done to put an end to this exploitation?
The common educated people should record their protest against it through their writing in print media, through their voice in electronic media and also through social media. The government must keep under constant pressure until they overhaul the healthcare sector. The government needs to apply their writ and whosoever does not abide by the law must be taken to the courts. Doctors who charge high fees and hospitals who do not treat a patient until fees are paid must be boycotted and they must be forced to put an end to their greed.
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