Government renews its commitment to reduce maternal and child mortality ratio, Saira Afzal Tarar

May 13, 2015

 Islamabad, May 13, 2015: In a high profile inter provincial meeting organized today in Islamabad, Mrs. Saira Afzal Tarar minister for national health services presented the National vision for coordinated priority actions to address challenges of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child health and nutrition in Pakistan. The meeting was attended by provincial ministers, development partners and renowned public health experts. While speaking at the occasion, Minister reiterated the commitment of the Government that mother and child safety through proper immunization and better nutrition are a major priority.

 

In line with the global “A Promise Renewed” movement the Minister of National Health Services stressed again that the drive towards the MDG goals 4, 5 shall be sustained until no mother, newborn or under-5 child dies from preventable causes.  A comprehensive action plan for the next 10 years to achieve this goal was presented for discussion and endorsement during the meeting.

“With this plan we will further our evidence based equity approach. We will build on best practices and invest in finding new innovative ways to fight mother and new born mortality and we will focus on the most vulnerable.” said Minister Saira Afzal Tarar.

The meeting was attended among others by the Country Representatives of the WHO, USAID and UNICEF. As special guests UNICEF’s global Director of Health, Dr. Mickey Chopra, and Dr Haifa Madi, Director Health in WHO Regional Office Cairo, attended the meeting.

“Every minute a child dies in Pakistan, every hour three women die - the majority from preventable diseases. This is unacceptable and I congratulate the Government of Pakistan for its renewed commitment to respond to this problem,” said Angela Kearney, the Country Representative of UNICEF. “I am confident that this plan will have a direct positive impact on the survival of children and women” she continued. 

The document helps to set national priorities, declares clear budgeted targets and aims at mobilizing civil society. It is on the one hand focussing on social determinants and addressing inequities in health. On the other hand it shows a multi-sectorial approach with strong links to nutrition and reproductive health and family planning.

Minister said,The Government of Pakistan is working to ensure availability of high quality maternal, newborn and child health services to all, especially for the poor and the disadvantaged.

She said,Prime Minister of Pakistan during a meeting in February 2015 with international and national leaders in health expressed his concern over slow progress in maternal, newborn, child health and nutrition related issues in Pakistan. He directed the national leadership to take stock of the situation and carve a comprehensive action plan with identified priority areas at national and provincial levels. 

When it gets to reducing under five child mortality it is crucial to prioritise interventions that concentrate on the first 28 days of a child’s life. Neonatal period accounts for almost two third of all under-five deaths. The new action plan takes this fact into account and focuses on introducing and scaling-up the essential interventions for improved new-born care as part of the continuum of care and putting particular focus on remote rural districts and urban slums.

The plan also addresses the overall low immunization coverage in Pakistan, taking into account that one out of four under-five deaths are caused by vaccine preventable diseases.