There is much concern about the capacity of the health system of Pakistan to meet its goals and obligations. Historically, the political thrust has been absent from the health policy formulation and this is reflected in the low and stagnant public allocations to health. Successive political leaderships have averred from considering healthcare is a common good rather than a market commodity and health has not been recognized as a constitutional right. Over 120 of world's nation states have accepted health as a constitutional right but the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan does not mandate health or education as a fundamental right and the recently adopted 18th constitutional amendment missed the opportunity to extend access to primary health care as an obligation of the State. It is argued in this communication that missing from the calculations of policy formulation and agenda setting is the political benefits of providing health and other social services to underserved populations. Across the developing world, many examples are presented of governments undertaking progressive health reforms that bring services where none existed and subsequently reaping electoral benefit. The political determinant of healthcare will be realized when the political leaders of poorly performing countries can be convinced that embracing distributive policies and successfully bringing healthcare to the poor can be major factors in their re-elections.
- Social determinants of health