Health has been a low priority area in Pakistan where defence and foreign debt servicing have often consumed the entire domestic resources.
The government spends about 1.9% of its budget on health. An ill-regulated private sector accounts for nearly 80% of the health services. But very few people have private health insurance plans.
Pakistan's health indicators that are among the lowest in the world. About one in 10 children die before the age of five. One in 200 women die during childbirth.
According to WHO figures, more than half of all deaths in Pakistan result from communicable diseases. The prevalence of vaccine-preventable diseases is also high.
Pakistan is a polio endemic country. Social attitudes are partly responsible for this. In the north-west, extremist clerics have been conducting a campaign against UN-funded polio vaccinations, telling people that the drops contain chemicals that may render their children impotent.