PESHAWAR: Each year Pakistan witness preventable deaths of 432,000 children under-five years of age and 20,000 mothers due to
causes related to pregnancy and child birth.
Among the under-five deaths, two-thirds are in the newborn period (first 28 days of life) and the remaining is largely due to pneumonia (13%) and diarrhea (11%).
In FATA 104 of every 1000 children born did not reach their fifth birthday. Of these, the majority (86) dies in the first year of life due
to preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. Diarrhea and pneumonia are seasonal calamities and preventable. Most of these precious lives can be saved by simple knowledge about prevention and promotion of some key measures at home and healthcare seeking practices relating to these diseases.
Pakistan has committed to a Millennium Development Goal of reducing under-five deaths to 52 per 1,000 births, and under-one deaths to 40 per 1,000 by 2015. In an effort to achieve this goal, Mother and Child weeks are held twice a year with focused messages on pneumonia or diarrhea according to the seasonality of these diseases.
National Programme for Family Planning and Primary Health Care, Ministry of Health in collaboration of UNICEF is launching the Mother & Child Week, from 10th to 15th October in all the Agencies, FRs and IDP camps of FATA.
The partners include National Programmes on EPI, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and UNICEF, Population Welfare Department and non-governmental organizations. This is one of the key initiatives by the Department of Health FATA.
As winter season is approaching the upcoming Mother and Child Week is focused on prevention and management of acute respiratory tract infections with an intensive awareness rising on best care practices at the household level if a child suffers from the disease.
The weeklong campaign supported by UNICEF provides a model for improving health and nutrition and consequently child survival and development in Pakistan.
The series of activities during the week includes public awareness activities at village supplemented by immunization and de worming for children, tetanus toxoid vaccination for pregnant mothers, refresher trainings for health workers, and strengthened public health systems to ensure that Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and other essential supplies are available and correctly used.
Each pregnant woman will also receive counseling on recognition of danger signs among mothers and newborns, the importance of at least four ANC visits, delivery by a skilled birth attendant, post natal care, early initiation of breast feeding, exclusive breast feeding, immunization of the child and optimal birth spacing.
The formal launching ceremony of the Mother Child Health Week was held in Peshawar on 10th October (Monday) at LHWs programme office. Dr Fawad Khan Director Health Services FATA was the Chief Guest on the occasion.
Dr Muhammad Rafiq, Program Specialist, UNICEF FATA and Dr Pervaiz Kamal Project Coordinator MNCH program, were present on the occasion and briefed the media.
This week will be focused on nationwide awareness campaign with focused service delivery in seven agencies and Frontier Region of FATA and IDP camps reaching around 1.0 million population including 174,000 under-five children and 33,080 pregnant women. Around 1,442 Lady Health Workers will be involved in the activity together with vaccinators and healthcare providers. (APP)