Sustainable Development Goal 3 has been designed to achieve good health and well-
being at a global level. Central to that objective is the need to ensure populations around the
world have access to quality healthcare services, both geographically and financially. Universal
healthcare delivery is therefore essential to the world’s progress; disease any- where in the world
can threaten public health everywhere. This phenomenon was clearly seen during the recent COVID-19
pandemic. While in Pakistan, the pandemic’s impact has been relatively less disastrous in terms of
human lives lost than in countries such as the UK, Italy and the US, it has revealed serious
loopholes in the health sector and the domino impact poor health can have on other developmental
sectors such as education, the labor market and the overall economy of a country. Moreover, the
pandemic has revealed the inevitability of investing in a health system that is cross sectoral
and is based on rigorous data collection and analysis tools.
Given the above scenario, a major question ensues: what are the major challenges Pakistan’s public
health sector faces and what can be done to ensure we meet the sustainable development goals on
health (Goal 3)? This policy brief argues that Pakistan’s health sector is marred by reactive
policy making, whereby the public health sector is invested in after health crises have erupted.
Instead we need a trans formative shift in the way the public health sector is managed with a focus
on preparedness. To this effect, an adaptive and integrated policy framework that focuses on
prevention is the answer.