AIM: To gauge the level of preparedness of health system of Pakistan in the wake of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic .
BACKGROUND: The global COVID-19 outbreak and its subsequent repercussions and implications, after being declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), exposed all the inherent, lingering, and acute shortcomings of the health systems in many developing countries and Pakistan was no exception .
METHODS: A detailed literature review was done which included peer-reviewed articles on COVID-19 and health system, published in local and international journals, WHO and World Bank's publications, and the documents and official reports of the government . Focus was to glean and cite strategies adopted by the developing countries in response to COVID-19 and to see the applicability of those which are feasible for Pakistan . FINDINGS: Level of preparedness was minimal and the response to manage the outbreak was weak . Based on toll of the cases and number of deaths, this public health threat turned out to be a catastrophe beyond the controlling authority and capacity of the health system, and hence other sectors and agencies had to be engaged for devising a concerted and integrated response to deal with the emergency . Governance was disorderly, financing was inadequate, human resources were not trained, supplies and logistic were not stocked, information system was patchy, and research capacity was limited, and most of all the service delivery was in a biggest chaos of times . COVID-19 demanded to re-configure the health system of Pakistan .
CONCLUSION: Improving the emergency preparedness of the hospitals is the foremost and an urgent need . A strong national public health system in Pakistan is needed to rapidly investigate and analyze the reports, assess the magnitude of the public health risk, share real-time information, and implement public health control measures in a concerted and systematic demeanor.
Index: COVID-19, Pakistan, building blocks, health system, pandemic