A telemedicine project was inaugurated at New Karachi Hospital on 28th November. The pediatric emergency room telemedicine site is supported by Child Life Foundation. Speaking on the occasion, Health Secretary Dr Fazlullah Pechuho said that telemedicine was the way forward in health sector. “Telemedicine projects will not only help in improving rural healthcare, but also improve quality of care all over Sindh,” Pechuho said.
Public-private partnership in health sector will pave the way for the inclusion of state-of-the-art facilities that will provide medical treatment to children in critical condition, he said.
However, increased privatization of the health sector has led to unaffordable health care. According to Dawn news dated 22nd November 2017, health costs see sharp increase in Pakistan. Amongst various product categories in the market, medical drugs showed highest price rise in October, amounting to an increase of 15.68% as compared to last year. Medical tests cost increased by 6.23%, clinic fee rose 5.75% year on year. Although Pakistan imports many of its pharmaceutical products due to which local industry is still fighting for its survival under capitalist brand wars. Moreover, the last few months have seen several cases of unavailability of medical attention causing
women giving birth outside public hospitals and on roads.
For those who happen to enter the hospital premises for their medical needs, they must bear the pain of long waiting and endless queues before they get any attention. On the other hand, we see the rulers of Pakistan enjoying privileges of medical treatment in international hospitals abroad, with their entire focus on their own interests.
Capitalism gives emphasis to freedom of ownership to the detriment of humanitarian concerns. Whilst state hospitals are run into the ground, private hospitals compete with each other, with hefty fees, whilst private pharmaceutical companies make huge profits. The citizens suffer because in state hospitals, he does not receive adequate care, but in private hospitals, he must pay through his nose.
In Islam, it is the right of the people to have health care provided.
Hizb ut-Tahrir has adopted in its Introduction to the Constitution, “Article 164: The State provides free health care for all, but it does not prevent the use of private medical care or the sale of medicine.” Healthcare is part of the interests and utilities which the people cannot do without and so it is considered to be from the essentials. RasulAllah (saaw) ordered people to take treatment:
«جَاءَ أَعْرَابِيٌّ فَقَالَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، أَنَتَدَاوَى؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ، فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمْ يُنْزِلْ
دَاءً إِلاَّ أَنْزَلَ لَهُ شِفَاءً، عَلِمَهُ مَنْ عَلِمَهُ وَجَهِلَهُ مَنْ جَهِلَهُ»
“A Bedouin came and said: O Messenger of Allah, should I make use of medical treatment? He replied: Make use of medical treatment, for Allah has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, the one who knows it knows it and the one who is ignorant of it is ignorant of it” (reported by Ahmad from Usama Bin Shareek).
This indicates the permissibility of seeking treatment. Through treatment, benefit is gained and harm is prevented, so it is considered to be an interest, and on top of that the clinics and hospitals are a utility which the Muslims use for the sake of seeking treatment and cure, and so healthcare is, therefore, part of the benefits and utilities. The State is obliged to provide the benefits and utilities, because it is part of what the State must practically manage due to the words of the Messenger:
«الإِمَامُ رَاعٍ وَهُوَ وَمَسْؤُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ»
“The Imam is a guardian and he is responsible for his subjects” (reported by Al-Bukhari from ‘Abd Allah Bin Umar).
This is from the responsibilities of guardianship and for that reason it is obligatory upon the State to ensure it is provided to the people.