Following the devolution of powers in the 18th Amendment, the provinces are now independent in managing the healthcare services being provided to the people of Pakistan in both the public and private sectors. However, the present level and quality of health services tarnish the image of the country at an international level when the ruling elite, responsible for improving the services choose medical institutions abroad for personally reasons. Indeed, this exhibits a high level of distrust in the services directly under their control to deliver. When a crisis situation in the health sector is highlighted in the media, the policymakers take quick steps to resolve it. However, there is little effort to diagnose the root cause and eliminate it, which brings a bad name to the sector. As a consequence, the institution fails to develop in the long run and is unable to provide even the basic level of service in an efficient and effective manner and handle crisis situations. Even more critical is the mishandling by foreign branded management consultants and domestic novices. In the first case, there is a lack of insight into the problems of the health institutions of Pakistan; whereas, in the second case, it is the lack of expertise and capacity to offer strategic solutions to the underlying issues. The millions of dollars, which are pumped into our health sector either as foreign grants or loans, are channelled back to the source in the form of exorbitant foreign consultant fees that could be around $1,000 per day. Another considerable chunk is spent lavishly on the facilitation of these foreign consultants managed through local liaison companies. The amount of money that is actually spent to provide services is a fraction of the original aid.The health services of a country must be directed towards early detection and prevention of disease, rather than providing curative services alone. National screening services help contain the incidence of disease and give better treatment results and quality of life to the patient. The use of available resources becomes more effective and efficient through a two-pronged approach. Unfortunately there is no programme at the federal or provincial level to screen for cancer, diabetes, hypertension, infectious diseases such as HIV and other common ailments that have a high occurrence in the population of Pakistan. The screening, which is done at individual health centres, is not linked to a centralised database and the information collected is insufficient for future planning. The existing immunisation services are badly managed, which has rendered them dangerous for consumers. The administration of inappropriately stored vaccine has resulted in tragic deaths of newborn babies. The recent increase in the reported incidence of polio cases has revealed the failure of the health establishment to eradicate the disease from Pakistan, in spite of the huge amounts of foreign aid from international donor agencies received for this purpose. Pakistan is also vulnerable and under threat to be added to the travel advisory list of countries whose passengers travelling abroad will need to undergo specific tests to ensure that when Pakistanis travel abroad, it is safe for residents of the other countries they visit. It is high time that the government sits down and thinks seriously about revamping the healthcare services. The meagre health budget signifies how poorly human life is prioritised amongst the other needs of this nation. Reactive relief and award of compensation to victims of mishaps, which are highlighted in the media almost daily, cannot replace the urgent need for proactive planning and policymaking to set right the direction for the health services provision for the masses.The writer is a former member of Civil Services of Pakistan IT/Change Management Consultant and a Public Sector Management analyst.Email; drsaniachaudhry@gmail.com