Saira Afzal Tarrar urged doctors, professional and all stake holders to work together for improving the situation of child and mother health in Pakistan

February 07, 2015

 Islamabad: February 7, 2015:        Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Saira Afzal Tarrar urged doctors, professional and all stake holders to work together for improving the situation of child and mother health in Pakistan by playing their part wherever they are and in whatever we do as government is fully committed to minimize child maternal mortality rate in the country. I support and endorse all points raise by professional experts and appreciate the recommendations made during conference. She said this while addressing women and child health conference organized by Shaheed Zulifqar Ali Bhutto Medical University here in a local hotel on Saturday. Minister of State said that our government continues to support the Provincial Government in taking services to the mother and child. The Federal Government has ensured uninterrupted supply of vaccine for 6 million children against nine vaccine preventable diseases whereas vaccine is also being provided for over 6 million pregnant mothers to protect them against the deadly disease of tetanus. However, it is of very significance that this vaccine reaches all target children and mothers.               She said polio eradication in high risk areas we have already started introduction to strengthen the phases of the injectable polio vaccine. This form of vaccine presently being used as part of the polio emergency will soon be included in the routine immunization program.  She said that the provinces will have to strengthen their EPI reactivating non functional EPI Centres should be the first step in this regard besides equipping vaccinators with necessary resources to improve out reach to communities is also equally important. Our Government continues to support the Provincial Governments is taking services to the mother and child. The Federal Government has ensured uninterrupted supply of vaccine for 6 million children against nine vaccine preventable diseases whereas vaccine is also being provided for over 6 million pregnant mothers to protect them against the deadly disease of Tetanus. However, it is of critical importance that this vaccine reaches all target children and mothers. For this purpose, the Provinces will have to strengthen their EPI delivery system. Reactivating non-functional EPI centers should be the first step in this regard besides equipping vaccinators with necessary resources to improve outreach to the communities is also equally important. The Federal Government in the recent past had helped facilitate the development of the CYMP. This multi-year planning was done jointly by the Federal Government, Provinces and Partner agencies to strengthen the delivery of routine immunization services to the mother and child.   Minister said that in our country 1 out of 14 children die before reaching the age of 1 year where 60, 000 babies die within the first day of life. We also have the highest number of still born babies in the region that is 1 in 23. Despite being the only country in South Asia to have a National Breastfeeding Policy, Pakistan has the lowest exclusive breastfeeding rate at 37.7 percent about 50 percent and the highest bottle feeding rate at 40 percent according to the last PDHS survey. She said that about 50 percent births take place at home, primarily with the help of unskilled birth attendants while 30 thousands women die from pregnancy related causes.   Minister stressed the need of capacity building of nurses, para medical staff and other child health care and stakeholders. She also urged young and fresh graduate doctors to work in far flung areas districts of the country so the government may succeed to deliver better health care facilities to poor people, specially children and mothers. Later while talking to the media, Minister Saira Afzal Tarrar said that mortality rate in Tharparkar is of underweight children due to non administration of injections and medicines malnutrition, etc. While answering a question about cases of polio in the country, she said situation has improved after formation of National Task Force for eradication of polio as there are 6 cases of polio in 2015. She further said that polio coverage is 90% in Karachi because security of polio teams workers improved after formation of committee regarding security.