Gojal’s Health Fault Lines


By Noor


Gojal is one of the most neglected parts of Gilgit-Baltistan with regards to availability of health facilities. A ten-bedded hospital is the only modern center of health care that the government of Pakistan can offer to the seventeen thousand people of the largest Tehsil of northern areas. The hospital, deceptively well built, is run by a general physician, along with a number of male and female nurses. The doctor is not available to treat patients most of the time. He does not miss a single opportunity to elongate his leaves. Even if he is available there is dearth of life saving drugs and equipments.

Thanks to the efforts of Aga Khan Health Services, Pakistan, that runs three maternal and child care centers in different villages of Gojal valley, there has been a sharp decline in child and maternal mortality rate in the region. But it is a fact that the health centers run by AKHS are not properly staffed. Most of the centers are run by trained nurses who lack the legitimacy and expertise for performing major operations.

Patients, no matter how direly in need of quick treatment, have to be brought to Ali Abad, in Central Hunza, or Gilgit city. Many a times patients lose their lives en route to hospital.

There is a need to discuss the shamful health conditions faced by people of Gojal. Dollar yielding careers in multi-national development organizations can not be the yardstick for measuring collective human development. We can call ourselves a developed society only if we have the capacity to treat, and maybe cure, patients when they most need it. Otherwise we are making a fool of ourselves, collectively. 

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  1. Noor! you have identified an issue of immediate concern in Gojal. The problem of non availability of health provision has got serious implications for the entire populace of the region. However, some of the villages and valley such as Chipursan and Shimshal are more vulnerable to health hazards, due to non availability of inadequate health facilities.
    In my view we should not always depend on the AKDN organizations for health, education and other amenities. We being the citizens of this county have the equal right to demand and press for these basic amenities of life. For this purpose people of the region, especially the youth should be sensitized through political literacy programs.
    Media platforms such as this site have the potential to do it more conveniently and on a mass scale.

    Iqbal Barcha,

  2. Provision of health and educational facilities at the doorstep of local community is one of the basic responsibility of the Government. However, in present situation we can not expect more. AKHSP has created awareness among the local community about basic health and hygiens.

    The vacum will always remain in place. The situation is worst in Gojal for the reason it is the largest and scattered tehsil. valleys and villages having long distance from the center. Transortation system is poor. Despite of all these difficultires, it is in responsibilities of political representatives to ensure the presence of doctors, para-medical staffs and life saving drugs in hospitals and basic health units. It is also in responsibility of the local community to make political representatives accountable for such miss-managements. During winter our political leaders also fly to Islambad like the birds from Borith lake.

  3. Dear Noor,

    Thanks for your nice effort towards resolution of long standing issue.

    Class III
    Metropoliten Foundation School
    Campus FB Area Karachi

  4. why are we still beggers? we still depend on government agencies and AKHS for help. wen will we start doing things our ownselves? Poor souls.

    all my love, with all my heart

  5. No. We shall not beg. We don’t have th resources to build on our own. So we should let the “poor souls” die. Is that what you mean Alyan, dear?

  6. The issue is not to beg from organisations. It is in the basic responsibilities of the Government to provide basic educational and health facilities to his subjects.

    The local community is really contributing on self-help basis otherwise the situation can be more devastating.

    Not to beg but to demand for thier basic human rights.

  7. respected Moderator,

    I respect and deeply honour your ideas and understandings. Yeh, I accept that we should not beg. Infact, I was about to convey that we(the Gojalians) are rich souls. ‘Poor souls’ must not be an appropriate word to use and may seem absurd but I had used it for ownselves(sorry if anyone still thinks it bad), of our approach to things. We cant expect good results and outcomes or responses form the government agencies. Certainly, they are the poor souls, in reality. they dont have anything to give us because of the corrupt people functioning the government departments. I was just trying to say why dont we devise strategies and come up with solutions for our problems and basic needs. Imam-uz-Zaman had his Farmans for us that we must be able to do things in our own ways. The AKHS or other AKDN institutions have brought a revolution but I think we cannot wholy depend on these institutions. These institutions have taught us the way and gave us the right directions.

    I hope that with the passage of time our deliberations will yield mature social thoughts for all of us.


  8. Thank you Noor for bringing this key rights issue upfront.

    We need to understand the context first. In civilized states the world over, it is the primary function of the governments- central, provincial and local, to ensure that all citizens have equal access to quality health care, quality primary education, road networks, continued supply of quality drinking water, have access to employment opportunities, get nutritious food, have access to quality ousing facilities. Besides ensuring that their dignity, privacy, life and honour are protected by the state. Unfortunately in the third world including Pakistan due to bad governance, corruption, dishonesty, inefficiency and weak administrative capacities of public sector institutions, the governments’ performance, generally, are rated very very low.

    There are three ways to deal with this situation and get out of this state of helplessness and hopelessness;

    1. Initiate Political Activism: the political parties who file their candidates for local bodies and NALA elections should proactively engage their elected/defeated candidates and create plans of action for their constituencies and assist them in identifying, implementing and monitoring the public funded projects in a transparent manner. For example the PPP and the democratic forces could use the Chehlum of BB in Passu to come up with a Five Year Plan of Action for Gojal Tehsil. This plan should include agenda and actions for all major sectors: Health, Education, Employment, Housing, Environment, Border Trade with China, Economics, Tourism, Youth, Children, Women, Special Persons, Civil Society and Political Representation etc. Likewise other parties and political groups should also come up with their concrete plans. Wether in power or not, these parties/groups should pursue this agenda for change and create political awareness and put pressure on the relevant government functionaries and elected representatives to be accountable to the people and deliver the primary functions of the governments.

    2. Support civil society initiatives: When governments and elected representativeds fail, the civil society is the only hope to deliver on the basic civic services and protect the rights of the poor people. Therefore we need to strengthen the hands of civil society organizations like AKDN, local VOs, WOs, NGOs etc., who are providing such services despite financial and technical constraints;

    3. Develop Private Sector: The private sector in the Northern Areas is still nascent. There are supply and demand issues. However gradually market forces will see a business sense in providing quality health care by opening up diagnostic, curative and other tertiary services. The government need to provide incentives and an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in social services.

    Amin Beg

  9. Dear all,
    It is indeed an earnest issue to be to ponder over.The basic health facilities are still not available in Gojal and that is really embarassing.I would personally emphasize that the representatives of the jurisdiction must play their role as are the people interface with the government.Health sector is really developing all around the world and it is really a pre-requisite towards a prosperous future.
    All the basic tools for diagnosis and medication must be availabe as to ensure any kind of uncertainity.i will request the dignitaries,senoirs and sensable youth of Gojal to think about this issue and must cope up the ongoing crisis as to put aside the people of the region from burning fire.
    Aslam Khan Ghalib
    student of molecular Genetics,Lahore,Pakistan

  10. yap,one problem i would share vd u z that doctors in this industrial n modern age dont prefer to pay their services n rural area even not n pakistan they have great desire to escape from this country for d sake f money…now what we have to do z,to organise fruitfull n comprehensive workshops n different areas n tell them how to get far from the desatrous diseases by taking saftey measurements..
    …saying f a French doctor,eat an apple once a day n keep away from sickness…

  11. noor bhai has raised a very important issue.we all see that we the people of north are spending our most of the money on health and we must look in it
    many friends have many ideas,but let me tell u that if there is any one to change this scenario it is the upcomming generation pf proffessionals,every one has to play his role respective to his/her of my friend told that doctors of area are not willing to work there.i would like to ask that what about him??????whould he like to work there??or what about me what about ghalib?what about noor ?what about others are we ready to work thre and bring nay change
    if we really have desire do bring any change then we have to come out of this theoretical discussion and do some thing practical

  12. Dear Amjad

    I really appreciate your candid observations about our attitudes, in general. We, most of the time, are “Guftar-k-Qazi” and not “Kirdar – k- Ghazi”.

    Nevertheless, I must underline the importance of objective deliberations. You will agree that all successful actions are the outcome of thoughtful discussions and planning. All actions are inspired by ideas and if ideas are informed then the actions become sustainable.

    We do not really have to live in our villages to change it. Communication technology is a very important and useful tool that can be kept in service to enslave the time and space divide.


  13. it is really an issue that is prevalent in almost all the rural parts of the region. Why Gojal alone! efforts may be taken to introduce a capmaign to divert attnetion of the giovernment to this. But with Gojalis it nis chronic probelm that ttheir professionals enjoy life in cities like karachi and Islamabad and are reluctant to woptk in their areas. whatever is left of them have joined NGOs in NAs and what they are doing there is well konwn to all. Please don’t look at things so narrowly, Dear Gjalis!

  14. Dear Adnan shah

    I have been reading your comments on various posts on Pamir News, with great interest.

    You will appreciate our efforts to light the lamp in our own home, first, and the neighbors second. I think it is more logical for the Gojalis to speak for Gojal. We have not seen others speaking for us, or for themselves, for that matter.

    Having said that let me also emphasize our resolve to be a representative media of the entrie region. We hope that with determined people like your good self in our ranks we will materialize this dream of collective growth.


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