Marching toward the Millennium Development Goals: what about health systems, health-seeking behaviours and health service utilization in Pakistan?

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Attaining the ambitious targets pronounced in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will necessitate radical changes in policy as well as extensive reforms and strong inter-sectoral coordination in the healthcare system of Pakistan. While aiming for such macro-level achievements, it is imperative to analyze the on-the-ground realities of any health system. Improving health systems has the potential to assist progress toward MDGs in the near term by promoting more equitable access and introducing effective interventions. More money allocation and more health spending would not necessarily mean better health for Pakistanis. The complex composition of the healthcare system drives us to study the intricate phenomena of health service utilization and healthcare-seeking behaviours. Such an approach will thus provide evidence to sensitize health personnel to provide more empathetic care and to encourage the community at large to start seeking appropriate and timely healthcare. This paper advocates thinking beyond health services provision by reaching out to people and understanding their perceptions, practices and health-seeking behaviours. Achieving millennium development goals will necessitate interventions that address health issues of women, children and all other vulnerable groups in Pakistan.


World Health & Population