In this predicament, mental health should not be sidelined. When it comes to suicide rate, target 3.4 deals with reducing one third of premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment, and promotes mental health and well-being. In this regard, if we consider indicator, 3.4.2 – then Pakistan had a suicide mortality rate of 2.9 per 100,000 population in 2016. For the same year, there are countries where this rate was very high such as 31.6 in Lithuania, but on the other end of the spectrum, the same statistic stands at 0.5 for Antigua and Barbuda. How brutal is it that there is one person content with their life, thinking of progressing more – whereas not far away lives another person – questioning the meaning of their existence, and fighting the voices in their head? There have been many instances in Pakistan where parents have killed themselves along with their children. The main reason for such tragic occurrences can be no doubt medical, but sometimes, society is equally at play – such as bullying, abusive relationships, etc. Another reason can be inequality and injustice; and a lack of hope that there may not be light at the end of the tunnel. Whose responsibility is it to ensure the mental health of common citizens? Do we have a statistic for the number of psychologists or psychiatrists for every 1000 people? Moreover, who would monitor the awareness of mental health among the public, and facilitate or subsidize their counselling charges. If our political leadership is on the same page with regard to providing a good standard of living for its citizens – it should gear a substantial portion of its efforts towards ensuring proper funds for mental health and well-being of citizens. Simultaneously, we cannot underscore the need to address the stigmas and clichés associated with the notion of a ‘counsellor’. This would aid in solving a plethora of pending criminal cases, and help those people who are or have suffered from abuse, to lead a normal life and become valuable assets for the country. The consequences of inaction on our part now will be much more costly and adverse in the future. If we are aiming to substantially achieve something in the coming years – health should be our major priorityThe data on registered medical and paramedical personnel by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics reports that the number of doctors grew from 195,896 in 2016, to 233,261 in 2019. Similarly, the number of dentists grew from 18,333 to 24,930 in the same period. According to the United Nations Population Fund, in 2020, the total population of Pakistan is220.9million. These figures regarding the medical practitioners sadly do not make much sense if we relate them with the current population. However, some notable achievements in the scenario of health include the Prime Minister’s plan to eliminate viral hepatitis B and C by 2030. The Pakistan Economic Survey of 2019-20 reports some other achievements of the government in the form of launch of various projects, such as Sehat Sahulat Programme-a micro insurance program to aid poor people in accessing good quality health facilities, Malaria Control Programme, Maternal & Child Health (MCH) Programme, etc. The consequences of inaction on our part now will be much more costly and adverse in the future. If we are aiming to substantially achieve something in the coming years – health should be our major priority. It will be a prudent decision to increase our budgetary allocation to health in real terms. We should keep a track of funds allocated at the time of the budget announcement, and the funds actually released to help us plug the gaps – for a transparent and guided allocation towards the most deserving aspects of the health sector. We can rely on the case studies of different countries that have made advances in their health infrastructure through their health policies and budgetary allocations. The missing priorities of diving into research and development should be stressed upon- this involves spending on education, especially STEM learning and other scientific diplomas, degrees, etc. It is an undeniable fact that the times ahead require more workers in the field of medicine and health. We have very few medical specialists – who are beyond the reach of many people in the rural periphery, both in territorial and financial terms. Widespread public campaigns should be initiated through popular modes of communication to remove the stigmas associated with certain medical ailments and mental health problems. One noteworthy example can be the latest breast cancer awareness campaigns through voice overs by cellular companies. Medical costs should be monitored, and the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) should be vigilant about the change in prices of medicines, while keeping in view the spending capacity of the common man.In far-flung areas, reaching a doctor in time is a big quandary. Firstly, there is no proper mode of transportation. Secondly, the extortionate medical costs have become a fundamental weakness in our health infrastructure. The imbalanced elements in the health equation should be catered to – such as low research and development, allocation of financial capital, inefficient health infrastructure, lack of trained health personnel, high treatment costs, absence of health units in rural areas, and presence of social stigmas. Our finances as well as human resources should be apt for dealing with scientific advances. Micro insurance schemes which cover health expenditures of the poor should be popularized, and the government should facilitate private microfinance institutions for their liquidity crunch. It is imperative to highlight here that a number of SDGs are closely interlinked, and this particular SDG can be achieved by taking into consideration other goals such as ‘No Poverty’, ‘Zero Hunger’, ‘Quality Education’, ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’, ‘Reduced Inequality’, and ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’. To this effect, all countries can work alongside each other to reimagine health infrastructure globally – as we are all in this together! Dr. Izza Aftab is the chairperson of the Economics Department at Information Technology University, Lahore. She is also the Director of the SDG Tech Lab and the Program Director of Safer Society for Children. She has a PhD in Economics from The New School University (NY, USA) and is a Fulbrighter. She tweets @izzaaftab.Noor Ul Islam is currently working as a Research Associate at the SDG Tech Lab established in collaboration with Information Technology University, Lahore, UNDP and UNFPA. She is a post-graduate in Economics from Lahore University of Management Sciences. She tweets @Noor_Ul_Islam20.