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- Monday, January 28, 2013 - From Print Edition


PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has set up 26 schools for community midwives in 24 districts, besides training 1,072 midwives during its first three years. The present government through the above initiative, focussed on the reduction of high infant mortality rate (IMR), child mortality rate (CMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR).


According to an official, a monthly stipend of Rs3500 per month is being given to the midwives along with free hostel accommodation and pick and drop facility.


He said the country had high infant mortality, child mortality and maternal mortality rates as compared to the neighbouring countries and these were comparatively high in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa than rest of the country.


In addition to equipment, medicine and supplies to the hospitals, the government has established a net of baby friendly clinics across the province with major success in reducing IMR and CMR, he added.


Besides mother care (EMC) training and maternal health services in 88 rural health centers (RHCs) across the province, he said, the government had given special scholarships for post-graduate (MPH) courses to encourage doctors and nurses.


To combat and control hepatitis, he said a mega project “Prevention and Control of Hepatitis in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa” approved by the Provincial Development Working Party in 2009 costing Rs360.427 million was launched to make the province hepatitis free.


To provide free of charge treatment to the poor and deserving patients, he said the provincial government was providing Rs.500 million per year for Hepatitis Control Programme under the Benazir Health Support Programme (BHSP).


Diagnostic and screening facilities have been provided to hospitals for treatment of deserving patients against viral hepatitis (Chronic B&C) besides vaccination to vulnerable groups against hepatitis B, he said, adding vaccination of infants and children against hepatitis B has been included in Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) yielding good results.


To make KP hepatitis free, he said, the Government has provided treatment to thousands of people for viral hepatitis such as hepatitis-B and C and currently treatment for ten thousand patients of Chronic Hepatitis C and 6000 patients of Chronic Hepatitis B is available in the stock to cater for more patients.


He said the government was actively pursuing ways and means to reach those who cannot reach health facilities to get rid of this menace and decided to provide free treatment to all patients suffering from Hepatitis B or C irrespective of their financial status, caste and creed.


Attention is being made on capacity building and improvement of public and private healthcare providers in Khyber Pakhtun-khwa for optimal prevention and management of hepatitis.


Previously, he said the Hepatitis Control Programme offered free treatment to only the people with Zakat certificate, forcing many to stay away.


In the past, a hepatitis patient had to get registered with the local and district Zakat office if he wanted to be treated free of charge. The complex Zakat procedure had also required the patients to visit Peshawar-based hospitals and undergo certain tests before being prescribed drugs, he said.


Under the new system, the official said, all patients underwent PCR test and get drugs prescribed to them by medical specialists in all district headquarters hospitals and don’t need to produce Zakat certificate.


The official said special sites had been established at the Lady Reading Hospital, Hayatabad Medical Complex and Khyber Teaching hospital in Peshawar where the patients were examined in specially designated outpatient departments and given medication the same day.


Every month, the patients were evaluated and prescribed drugs and hepatitis patients were given injections and oral medication strictly on the prescription of the specialists.


He said hepatitis C patients required six-month injection regime under supervision due to which all of them were asked to come for follow-up visits.


The official said special focus is being made on advocacy campaigns for promoting awareness regarding prevention of hepatitis, AIDs and other blood disorder diseases and urged media and Ulema to support Govt by highlighting this issue for benefits of people.