Maternal and child health: Awareness among men needed to reduce mortality rates: seminar
ISLAMABAD: There is a need to raise awareness about child and maternal healthcare issues among men, participants at a seminar proposed on Wednesday. Various non-government organisations (NGOs) and government departments organised the seminar to share findings of the Safe Motherhood and Applied Research and Training (SMART) project, implemented in the Dera Ghazi Khan and Layyah districts. Participants said the training of health staff was not enough to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality rates. Maj Gen (r) Shahida Malik, the health director general and seminar chief guest, said the government had taken “concerted measures” to improve the health of mothers.
She said the improvement of all health programmes and provision of health facilities to mothers were the government’s top priorities. National programmes for primary health care, family planning and the training of women health workers had also been initiated, she said. She said 96,000 Lady Health Workers (LHWs) had been appointed in the country to provide healthcare services to mothers and children at their doorsteps. She said the maternal mortality rate in Pakistan stood at about 300-500 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. She said it was a major objective for the government and part of the Millennium Development Goals to bring down this mortality rate, adding that poverty and low literacy levels were hampering awareness on health issues. She asked women to get treatment from a physician, a LHW or a trained midwife.
According to reports, the SMART project was started in 2002 and completed in 2006. The European Commission provided financial support and it aimed to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality rates. The project includes the formation of village health committees, male and female support groups, visual and audio materials, training of transporters and the training of LHWs and midwives. The Population Council mentioned in the project report that the lack of emergency and other treatment facilities at hospitals was a major problem in rural areas. The project results would be used, replicated, adapted, and scaled up not only in Pakistan but also in other developing countries, facing similar problems, it said. Midwives and LHWs were specially trained in DG Khan and Layyah under the project, which resulted in 22 percent reduction in maternal and child mortality rates, according to the reports.
Source: Daily Times