Rs30bn project for mother, child health this year: NICH symposium
KARACHI:With the required spade work done and pilot studies completed, the government will launch the National Mother & Child Health Programme, costing Rs30 billion, during current fiscal year, Federal Health Secretary Syed Anwar Mehmood said here on Sunday. He was speaking at the concluding session of the third annual symposium on “Neonatal & Child Health — World Scenario” organised by the National Institute of Child Health (NICH). He said the federal government, in close coordination with provincial health departments and medical community, was trying its best to get close to the targets set to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.The five-year programme, he said, was part of these efforts, desperately needed to bring down the still quite high incidence of maternal and infant mortality, as well as morbidity, rate in the country.
The health secretary observed that efforts were made to improve the national health indicators with specific reference to women and children. He said the new project, already approved by the central Planning Commission, was supposed to address the issue in a most integrated manner. Mr Mehmood acknowledged that it would take its time to take roots.He appreciated that NICH was setting a strong tradition of bringing together experts and professionals from within the country and abroad to focus on the most pertinent issues of child health. He particularly welcomed the equal attention being paid on enhancing skills and learning capacities of nurses along with pediatric physicians and surgeons during the annual symposium. He held out the assurance that the number of faculty members in the country’s important teaching hospital would also be raised in accordance with the requirement. This, he noted, was not only important for an improved medical care, but also for professional progress of the doctors associated with the institution.
NICH Director Prof Afroze Ramzan, referring to a constant development in the health care services provided to children at the hospital, also requested for necessary support from government in the procurement of the land adjacent to the institute, to help facilitate the process of expansion. She pointed out that the NICH was the only full-fledged child hospital in Sindh, and said that it had been established at a time when the population of Sindh was 18 million but it now stood at 40 million. She said the institute had to provide full medical assistance to the patients mainly coming from resource-less segments of the society. Prof. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta presented keynote address and his paper on “Newborn and Child Health in Pakistan — Challenges and Opportunities”. Dr Farhat Masood Mirza, Dr Jamshed Akhter and Dr Soofia Ahmed also spoke on the session. Later, the federal secretary formally inaugurated the upgraded radiology section and the renovated OPD at the NICH.