IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Pakistan's health policy: Appropriateness and relevance to women's health needs


  • Rizvi, Narjis
  • Nishtar, Sania


The interface between national health policy and women's health needs is complex in developing countries like Pakistan. This paper aims to assess if Pakistan's national health policy 2001 is relevant and appropriate to women's health needs. Through review of existing data on women, a profile of women's health needs was developed which was transformed into framework of analysis. This framework indicates that Pakistani women's health needs are determined by gender disparities in health and health-related sectors. Comparison of national health policy with women's health needs framework reveals that although policy focuses on women's health through prioritization of gender equity, it is however addressed as an isolated theme without acknowledging the vital role gender inequalities in health and health-related sectors play in defining women's health needs. Moreover, gender equity is translated as provision of reproductive health services to married mothers, ignoring various critical overarching issues of women's life such as sexual abuse, violence, induced abortion, etc. Health systems strengthening strategies are though suggested but these fails to recognize main obstacles of utilization of healthcare services by women including non-availability of female healthcare providers and gender-based obstacles to healthcare utilization such as illiteracy, lack of empowerment to make decisions related to health, etc. In order to be relevant and appropriate to women's health needs the policy should: (1) use gender equity in health and health-related sectors as an approach to develop a healthy policy (2) expand the focus from reproductive health to life cycle approach to address all issues around women's life (3) strengthen health systems through creation of gender equity among all cadres of health providers (4) tailoring health interventions to counter gender-based obstacles to utilization of healthcare services and (5) dissemination interventions for behavior change.

Suggested Citation

  • Rizvi, Narjis & Nishtar, Sania, 2008. "Pakistan's health policy: Appropriateness and relevance to women's health needs," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 88(2-3), pages 269-281, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:88:y:2008:i:2-3:p:269-281

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mumtaz, Zubia & Salway, Sarah, 2005. "'I never go anywhere': extricating the links between women's mobility and uptake of reproductive health services in Pakistan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 1751-1765, April.
    2. Jafarey, Sadiqua N. & Korejo, Razia, 1993. "Mothers brought dead: An enquiry into causes of delay," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 371-372, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. World Bank, 2013. "Pakistan - Towards an Integrated National Safety Net System : Assisting Poor and Vulnerable Households, An Analysis of Pakistan's Main Cash Transfer Program," World Bank Other Operational Studies 13254, The World Bank.
    2. World Bank, 2011. "Empowering Women through BISP," World Bank Other Operational Studies 27367, The World Bank.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:88:y:2008:i:2-3:p:269-281. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu) or (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.