KARACHI - The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has demanded the government to increase health budget equivalent up to 5 per cent of the total GDP as health conditions in the country are deteriorating day-by-day. "The conducting of the entry test by Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) to induct students for its MBBS programmes in different institutions before the result of intermediate examination announced is totally unfair and unreasonable. The DUHS administration earns millions of rupees on account of admission process, is totally unjustified." Talking to newsmen at Karachi Press Club on Tuesday President PMA Karachi Dr Aziz Khan Tank and Secretary-General PMA Dr Habib-ur-Lehman said that one child dies every minute from measles, mumps, chicken pocks, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infection. We have 34 per cent underweight mothers, and our 65 per cent women are anaemic. In our country 30,000 women die every year form pregnancy-related problems, and approximately 400,000 suffer from fistulae. They said, "From these health indicators, as mentioned above, one can imagine where we are standing at? And, insult to injury is that our public spending on health as percentage of GDP has further went down between 0.6-0.4 percent. It is a matter of concern that whatever health resources we have in hand are inequitably distributed. We spend 85 per cent of health resources on tertiary care hospitals which cater only 10 per cent of population, where as our 90 per cent population is being served with only 15 per cent of health resources." They said that as far as the government was concerned, it had not shown any commitment to address these health issues in the country. It is petty that the present government has yet to announce the permanent health minister which reflects its disinterest and lake of political will to solve the health problems of the people, they added. "The steps taken so far by the present government in the health sector are insufficient and disappointing, and there is immediate need for taking reformative measures without which the health issues facing the common men will remain unsolved. We have 70 per cent rural based population where primary health care is not available. If we look into our health indicators, the picture does not come as rosy as our governments tend to paint. The majority of our population has no access to emergency health care and emergency obstetrical care. We have life expectancy of 60 years, which was till recently 63 years. A big proportion of our population is unable to drink clean water or enjoy the facilities of sanitation. Water borne bacterial infection is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality both in children and adults. We are ready to support and provide guidelines to governments for better health of the nation. We appreciate the formulation of health task force by the government, and demand for induction of real stakeholders in it instead of vested interest people both from public and private sectors. We also welcome the policy guidelines initially announced by the government as we have already been proposing these for the past 50 years. We hope that these guidelines would be actually implemented and not consigned to some obsolete corner to gather dust." "The provincial governments have liberal policy regarding admission to private medical colleges. Substandard medical education is available at a very high cost. A system of check and balance is lacking in the PMDC as the council is comprised more of nominated members in stead of democratically elective members. The medical education in public medical colleges is also on decline. The public medical colleges transformed themselves into so-called universities, and running them as intermediate colleges which is equal to distorting merit. PMA has time and again raised its voice against every irregularity done with regard of admissions in past. In this connection, we welcome and support the stand taken by the Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah that all admission tests for medical colleges in public and private sectors should be held after results of secondary board of examination," they said. They said, "We also demand that these admission tests should be held first for the public medical colleges followed by the private medical colleges so as confusion and chaos would not occur. It will help parents saving huge amount of non refundable money just to secure admission of their children to private medical colleges."