Even a cursory glance at the healthcare sector of Pakistan can surmise that any plans for improving it have been insincere. However, the distressing condition of the health sector has once again come to the attention of the Supreme Court where it has expressed the desire to revamp the entire sector completely, since it is ‘directly concerned with the right to life’.

The acting Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, while hearing a case regarding the state of public health in the country observed that the quality of health was dependent on doctors. He urged the federal and provincial governments that the Supreme Court did not want adversarial proceedings, rather a ‘benevolent litigation’ as enforcement of fundamental rights was a prime duty- something not to be shrugged off.

Supreme Courts all over the world can remind governments of their duty to the people; legislations can be made to protect the people’s fundamental rights. Ignoring the healthcare system leads to avoidable deaths that could have been managed had the healthcare system been more accessible to people all over the country. During the proceedings, the recent tragic incident in Layyah district where 26 people died after consuming toxic sweets was mentioned, highlighting the absence of proper medical facilities. With the provincial governments seeking permission to submit respective reports in this regard, one can only wonder how different things would be this time around, even with the Supreme Court’s interest in the matter. Health experts have recently demanded that the federal and provincial governments allocate at least four percent of their respective fiscal budgets for the health sector to ensure the provision of the best facilities to patients. This is just the start, where without resources and better regulation, nothing will change.

These control and eradication programmes can only be successful if there is a functioning health infrastructure, robust gathering and analysis of data and adequate financial resources, but most importantly a motivated and well-informed political leadership. Good governance will be evident when more constructive steps are undertaken in order to improve facilities and provide sufficient healthcare resources.