Around seventy years back, my father had to fly to Bombay for a minor eye surgery (not cataract). Doctors in Karachi were so few, some relatives of mine would drive twelve kilometres to my locality (Nursery) whenever their kids had fever. In 1991, I was with my parents in Lahore and searched for many hours for a shop selling diabetes medication that my mother had run out of. In fact, even more tortuous was to find an optician to urgently make a pair of spectacles for my father (who had forgotten his glasses in Rawalpindi). I knew a man who had to go to the U.S. for heart surgery in 1984. Cataract surgery was rare, and most people would go for homeopathy or herbal treatment to get ride of cataracts.

Today, everything has changed in Pakistan, at least in the major cities. Heart bypass surgery and angioplasty are very common and much cheaper. Cataract surgery is so common that there must be more than a hundred eye surgeons in Karachi alone who do it very cheaply. I got both my cataracts removed ten years back for about a hundred thousand rupees. Recently, a relative got the same thing done for thirty thousand. My father had to stay home for forty days and not bend or take a bath for the same period (I don't remember how much the doctor charged, but it must have been at least twenty thousand, which was a huge amount thirty six years back). Plus there is the added benefit of not having to observe strict precautions for forty days, you can be up and about in a couple of days.

So, even though prices of medicines have gone through the roof in the highly corrupt government of the "Sadiq and Ameen" Imran Khan, at least the cost of medical treatment is still within the reach of middle class people.