Pilot project to be launched in Thatta to reduce under-five-year mortality


KARACHI: Program Manager, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) Sindh, Dr Sahib Jan Badar said on Thursday that World Health Organization in collaboration with Sindh government is going to launch a pilot project in Thatta district to reduce under-five-year age mortality ratio in children occurring due to severe bacterial infection.

This she said during a one-day seminar held to launch new WHO guidelines for outpatient treatment held at a local hotel. Medical Officer, Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent of Health, World Health Organization, Dr Shamim Qazi and other experts from Pakistan also attended the ceremony.

Dr Sahib Jan Badar said Pneumonia is considered leading cause of deaths in children under-five-year of age that occurred due to bacterial infection. She said currently, 83 children out of every 1000 died of various diseases and most of death occurred due to pneumonia.

She informed that WHO, Aga Khan Hospital and Sindh government is going to launch pilot project in Thatta district soon to reduce under-five age mortality ratio. She said under this program lady health workers, community midwives and paramedics will get training by experts to provide treatment to children with severe bacterial infection at local level.

Medical Officer Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, WHO, Dr Shamim Qazi said Pakistan had made considerable progress in reducing both maternal and child deaths in the country, but more efforts are needed towards the goals that relate to the health of women and children.

He said special focus is required to reduce neonatal mortality which is the man contributor to the child death burden in the country. He said aim of launching new guideline for outpatient treatment in Pakistan is to ensure availability of quality services for newborns and children in nearby healthcare centres.

He emphasized the importance of bringing services closer to communities in contexts like Pakistan, where the majority of the population is rural and referral of critical cases is problematic.

He said new WHO guidelines aim to enhance the management of possible serious bacterial infections in young infants when referral to higher level facilities is not feasible. About 1 in 10 newborns develop possible severe bacterial infection during the first month of life and more than 400,000 newborns die globally from these infections every year.

Eminent Paediatrician Prof Aisha Mehnaz said Pakistan is among the world’s 15 countries where infants die of various bacterial infectious diseases in first month of life due to unavailability of proper treatment facilities.

She said aim of launching of this project is to provide quality treatment to newborns and children at local level where referral of these infants are not possible due to transportation and other reasons.

Chief guest Director General Health Dr Asaad Hafeez stressed the need for implementing MNCH program in letter and spirit, and express commitment to seeing child health services reaching all children in Pakistan.

He thanked the provincial health department and WHO Pakistan for organizing this important event. He reiterated the government support in implementing MNCH activities throughout Pakistan.