Islamabad - Government is spending less percentage of its GDP on health for last one decade against the World Health Organisation (WHO) benchmark, Pakistan Economic Survey (PES) revealed on Thursday.

According to the document, the country is spending 0.5 to 0.8 per cent of its GDP on health for the last 10 years while WHO benchmark of health expenditure is at least 6 per cent of the GDP.

The document said that these percentages are less than The WHO benchmark of at least 6 per cent of GDP is required to provide basic and life saving services.

Meanwhile, the survey report also said that health spending is low but persistently rising.

During 2015-16, total expenditure was increased by 13 per cent over 2014-15, and during current fiscal year (July- March) 2016-17, the expenditure remain at Rs145.97 billion.

The figure shows an increase of 9 per cent over the same period of last year.

According to World Bank’s latest report, currently Pakistan’s per capita health spending is $36.2 which is below than the WHO’S low income countries benchmark of $86.

Several programs and projects are funded through the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) and implemented by the provincial and area governments.

The programs included Civil Registration and vital statistics, Family Planning and Primary Health Care (FP&PHC), Expanded Program on Immunization, Malaria Control Program, Tuberculosis (TB) Control Program, HIV/AIDS Control Program, Maternal Neonatal & Child Health (MNCH) Program, Prime Minister’s (PM) Program for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis and Cancer Treatment Program.

The survey said Prime Minister’s Program for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis envisioned meeting the challenges caused by the elevated incidence of viral hepatitis.

The program was launched to bear treatment of hepatitis B and C for patients who are unable to meet the expenses of the treatment due to high cost of medicines and diagnostics along with promoting preventive interventions.

The program also intends to decrease more than half of new cases of hepatitis B and C through advocacy and behaviour change communication, hepatitis B vaccination of high risk groups, establishment of screening, diagnosis and treatment facilities in DHQ hospitals, Safe Blood Transfusion and prevention of hepatitis A and E. The survey also claimed that awaited Safe Blood Transfusion project with the technical cooperation of GIZ and KfW has been revived and is in the implementation process in all four provinces that will bring down the incidence of hepatitis in the country.