Besides the announcement of any political segment, UNDP report clearly defined the South Punjab as suffering from “the longstanding regional disparities, and high rates of poverty”. Similarly, statistics in UNDP report comparatively illustrate healthcare expenditures in North and south Punjab as “8.4% of individuals in north Punjab were spending more than 10% of their monthly consumption expenditure on healthcare, followed by south Punjab where 6.8% spent more than 10% of their consumption expenditure on health”. At the same time, report also indicate data on infant mortality shows as, “in South Punjab, 43 children died per 1,000 live births as opposed to the provincial average where 41 children died per 1,000 live births”.
Thus, this report urges the newly established think tank “Rehmat and Maryam Researches” (RMR) provided an academic platform to the scholars from south Punjab to trace out the solution of respective problems, and to look what is the most essential need of south Punjab in current scenario.
The session was concluded with the endorsement of the findings and recommendations presented by Dr. Asim Ejaz Sheikh that;
- Major cities of South Punjab including Lodhran, Kehror Pakka, Dunyapur, Jalalpur Pirwala, Uchsharif, Shujaabad, Mailsi and Arifwala having lack of blood banks.
- Whenever a patient needs the blood, doctors usually recommend the custodians of patient to provide the blood by their selves, otherwise, refer the patient to another hospital of nearest major city. At this stage, patient lost its life if his custodians could not manage relevant blood or could not shift the patient in another hospital in time.
- Data in the UNDP’s report related to infant mortality also highlights the unavailability of blood banks in numerous cities of South Punjab that causes increment in the death risk of the baby or the mother, or both the baby and the mother (before or after birth).
- Another biggest tragedy of South Punjab is that many NGOs and organizations from major cities come here to collect blood donations. However, they are reluctant to establish their offices in these areas. Moreover, such cases have also come to light, that when a patient approaches these NGOs or organizations for obtaining blood, they show disinclination to donate blood without charging a huge amount.
- Ratio of the thalassemia patients’ death has been observed at alarming stage due to lack of timely blood availability.
In recommendations, Dr. Asim along with other participants request the provincial and federal governments to look after not only South Punjab but Interior Sindh and other backward areas in entire Pakistan with sincere consistency. As the reason to seek blood is simple, it helps save lives; there must be blood banks in each city of Pakistan where every common citizen must be allowed to facilitate with availability of require blood as per the recommendation of doctor. However, rather than to install another institution for this purpose, it would be more appropriate if proposed blood banks and “emergency blood providing system” would be linked with already existing 1122 services.