KARACHI (PPI) - At least 400 children suffering from diarrhoea and 500 from pneumonia, majority of them belonging to very poor families, die in Pakistan daily due to non-provision of health service to them by the government sector, said Dr Sheikh Tanvir Ahmed, National Coordinator, Peoples Health Movement, a NGO. Talking to PPI here, he said: New Health Policy introduced by the federal government has also thoroughly ignored equity issue and influential persons would be benefited more than poor from it. Only 20 percent population of Pakistan is getting health service from the government and remaining 80 percent have to spent a lot for their healthcare. Majority of this 20 percent also belong to prosperous class, he said. In Pakistan, a poor man has to spend 40 percent of his total income on medical treatment of him and his family members, as he has been totally ignored in official health policy for last several decades. Health for All principle is being followed only in Western countries and in our country, very poor people are being deprived of the facility, he observed. World Health Organisation (WHO) has asked all the countries to earmark seven percent of their total budget for health sector. The US, Europe and other various countries have adopted WHO standard by allocating such amount but in Pakistan only 1.75 percent is earmarked for health against its 36 percent defence budget, he added. He lamented that only 20 percent of Pakistans health budget was given to rural areas while remaining 80 percent to urban areas. Our 55 percent population lives in rural areas and they face lack of health facilities. Poor of rural as well as urban areas have to visit private clinics, quacks and paramedical practitioners for medical treatment due to lack of health facilities. Corruption in government health sector, particularly in medicines distribution exists at a large scale. Irregularities are not only present in Islamabad Drug Control system but also in Karachi. It could not be denied that some officials in government health departments are involved in procuring fake medicines for hospitals while non-sufficient quantity of medicines is provided to the hospital against earmarked budget for them, he stated. Our government is not paying attention to improve primary health care system, as several basic health units in rural areas are found non-functional. New Health Policy also could not redress this phenomenon. Present strength of lady health workers are covering only half of total population while remaining part is deprived of the facility. This sectors was also neglected in new health policy, he highlighted. Responding to a question, he said: A large number of poor citizens in Karachi are suffering from waterborne diseases as water being provided to Karachiites is 40 percent filtered and remaining 60 percent unfiltered. Leakage of water pipelines and mixing with sewage pipeline is also another cause to spread of diseases. A large number of people in Karachi are suffering from hepatitis and malaria owing to contaminated water and lack of proper disposal of garbage. When quizzed about medicines prices, Dr Ahmed said in Pakistan medicines of same companies are three times higher than India. There is dire need to adjust prices of 1,500 medicines as such are being sold in Pakistan many times higher than their rates in neighbouring countries. You can not rule out role of government officials as with their connivance, the pharmaceuticals are minting millions of dollars from our country, he said. If sale of fake and substandard medicines is not being checked in Liaquatabad and Kutchi Galli areas in Karachi, how the citizens could be provided better health environment, he raised question. On April 6, our organization is arranging Peoples Health Assembly at Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi. As many as 200 representatives from NGOs covering health issues and health professionals would discuss New Health Policy as well as current health situation in the country in this event. We will compile recommendations under Charter of Demands for change and improvement in New Health Policy, he concluded.