Unicef airs concern over child mortality
ISLAMABAD: Although the country touted meeting the sanitation target under Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7 as an achievement last year, but at the end of the MDG cycle, Pakistan’s progress on achieving other targets was less encouraging.
“Unfortunately, in today’s Pakistan, far too many children still die of preventable causes. Fewer girls than boys are in school. Despite long-standing recognition of an ongoing ‘nutrition emergency’, nutrition management is weak,” Unicef’s Representative Angela Kearney, stated in a report released on Monday.
Kearney highlighted that no province had yet set up a comprehensive and coordinated system to identify and help children in need of protection, adding that expanding gains in sanitation and polio eradication would require sustained support.
Moreover, she said, Unicef managed to achieve significant results for children and women in the country with the support of the government and assistance of its donors.
The annual report highlights the key indicators in the areas of health, nutrition, sanitation, education and child protection.
The report maintained that the number of children missed because of inaccessibility during anti-polio campaigns fell from 500,000 to 16,000 between 2013 and 2015. Similarly, wild polio virus cases plummeted from 306 in 2013 to 54 in 2015.
Around 72 per cent of locally-recruited health workers engaged by Unicef for community-based vaccination in high risk districts are women.
Water, sanitation and hygiene
In 2015, Pakistan achieved its MDG target of halving the proportion of the population without access to sanitation to 36 per cent.
As much as 91 per cent of the country’s population used improved sources of water, but in areas affected by natural disasters, water sources may be damaged.
A total of 1.3 million resided in ‘open-defecation free’ villages through Unicef support, 3,425 villages were certified free of ‘open defecation’, 579,0000 people were reached with safe drinking water.
Over 32 million children aged between six and 59 months received Vitamin A doses in 2015, the report highlighted. As many as 816,000 under-five children received micronutrient supplements.