Asia: Pakistan


Pakistan was created in 1947, during the separation of India from Great Britain, as a predominantly Muslim state. An ancient land with a 2,500-year history, it is the site of the prehistoric Indus Valley civilization. Pakistan is arid and mountainous, and claims K2, the second highest mountain in the world.
Pakistan is the sixth most populous country. It is also a poor country: 24% of its 176 million people live below the poverty line. Pakistan has a high infant death rate and a GDP per capita of $2,500. The official language is Urdu, but because Pakistan is a former British colony, most government and business workers speak English.
India is Pakistan's main source of friction, particularly due to the ownership dispute concerning the state of Kashmir. The military takeover of General Pervez Musharraf in 1999 left Pakistan under military rule. The public assassination of political opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in 2007, led to increased public unrest and Musharraf's resignation in August 2008. Bhutto's widower, Asif Zardari, was elected president. Pakistan is a declared nuclear arms state, and has become a close military ally of the United States.
Although Pakistan is a struggling, developing country, recent economic reforms and debt-relief from the IMF and the US have helped bolster its economy.


Hemophilia in Pakistan
An estimated 16,500 people live with hemophilia in Pakistan, yet only 1,329 have been identified and registered. Most hemophilia patients are poor and struggle daily to survive.
In a 2000 report, the World Health Organization ranked Pakistan's health system a poor 122nd in the world. Hemophilia patients depend on donated factor or use locally provided plasma or cryoprecipitate, risking blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis B and C. Several hemophilia treatment centers are trained to care for hemophilia patients.
The Pakistan Hemophilia Patients Welfare Society (PHPWS) was formed in 1998 to serve people affected by hemophilia. Today, the Lahore, Rawalpindi, Karachi, and Quetta chapters work diligently to provide education, medical relief, and physiotherapy to hemophilia patients.