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Think Tank Experts Urge Enhanced Funding for WASH in Pakistan

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In recent discussions among health experts in Islamabad, the urgent need for enhanced budget allocation for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in Pakistan has taken center stage. This discourse follows the unveiling of WaterAid’s latest Health Study, titled “Determining the Health Cost of Inadequate Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Pakistan,” shedding light on the economic burden of illnesses linked to poor WASH access.

Key Findings:

Led by Dr. Abid Aman Burki from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), the study presents compelling findings, revealing a significant household cost of Rs 116.13 billion attributed to diseases like malaria, diarrhea, and typhoid resulting from inadequate WASH facilities. Particularly alarming is the disproportionate burden borne by lower-income households, accentuating the need for targeted interventions.

Expert Insights:

Esteemed panelists including Dr. Masood Jogezai, Itsuro Takahashi, Dr. Shahzeb Mirza, and Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri participated in the discussion, emphasizing the critical link between health outcomes and WASH infrastructure. Their insights underscored the imperative for concerted efforts to address this pressing public health challenge.

Policy Implications:

Professor Dr. Meher Taj Roghani, a member of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations, Pakistan, highlighted the policy implications of the study, emphasizing the urgency of prioritizing investments in WASH infrastructure to mitigate health risks and improve overall well-being.

Call to Action:

Muhammad Fazal, Head of Program Strategy and Policy at WaterAid, reiterated the importance of recent research findings, emphasizing the role of WASH interventions in reducing morbidity and mortality rates. Furqan Ahmed, Interim Country Director of WaterAid Pakistan, echoed the sentiment, stressing the need for collaborative efforts to address climate change’s impact on WASH and public health.

Conclusion:

The discourse among health experts underscores the critical need for increased budget allocation and targeted interventions to enhance WASH facilities in Pakistan. As stakeholders work towards achieving universal access to sustainable and safe WASH services, prioritizing public health remains paramount in addressing the country’s health challenges.

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