Pakistan Railways (PR) has taken a commendable step by converting all its business class sleeper coaches into isolation wards. Creating such mobile isolation wards that accommodate around 2,000 beds for patients of coronavirus is an excellent example of improvisation and innovative thinking. What is even more amazing is that PR got it done so quickly. For this, the institution and its minister, Sheikh Rasheed, deserve all praise. Hopefully, this improvisation will provide timely help to hospitals that can be overwhelmed with patients suffering from coronavirus. Other departments must also follow in the footsteps of PR – whether it relates to providing resources or manpower – so that the burden on hospitals can be decreased. It is hoped that after this pandemic has passed us by, PR can also extend this innovative thinking and prompt action into improving its services across Pakistan.

Perhaps, the coronavirus serves as a reminder to governments everywhere — once all this is over — that overhauling the entire machinery and administration of public health service is the need of the hour. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also included investing more in the National Health Service (NHS) as one of the principal points in its electoral manifesto.

The present corona crisis has revealed once again how important it is for a state to provide better health facilities to its people. The provision of superb health facilities ensures a healthy population that, in turn, proves beneficial to a country’s progress and development. In any case, governments should use this pandemic as a yardstick for gauging future healthcare needs, especially with a growing population. Our state also needs to revisit its national health policy urgently. And the first step for improving the NHS is allocating more funds to it. More funds will ensure that people can be provided with the best health services.