Coronavirus, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), has revealed to all that the state must take up to its fundamental role: its responsibility to protect citizens in every way possible. Now, governments all over the world are scrambling to make more hospitals to improve their ration of beds per citizen to improve services.

And Pakistan is no exception. Pakistan needs to spend far more than other countries on national health. Currently, the government and its institutions are busy building hospitals on an emergency basis. For instance, the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) is developing a 252-bed isolation hospital in Islamabad, and the Punjab government has completed the first phase of establishing a 1000-bedded field hospital in Expo International Centre Lahore for confirmed cases of coronavirus. These are great initiatives. Hopefully, the government will succeed in curbing the spread of the virus. However, these are just temporary solutions against the challenges that confront Pakistan health sector.

But on the other hand, the virus allows us to revisit our long-term health policy and goals. The present corona crisis has revealed once again how important it is for a state to provide better health facilities to its people. Provision of superb health facilities ensures a healthy population that, in turn, proves beneficial to a country’s progress and development. But if we look at the share of funds allocated for national health; the figures are shameful. Improving the health and nutrition of the population is the priority agenda of the present government with an increased focus on revamping and strengthening primary and secondary healthcare facilities. Perhaps, the government should use this pandemic as a yardstick for future healthcare needs, especially with a growing population.