Infant mortality rate in Thar less than one per day, claims minister

KARACHI: Provincial Minister for Health Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar said on Monday that during the last 12 months, 316 children died in Tharparkar.

“This showed infant mortality rate in the drought affected areas of Tharparkar stood less than one child per day. The causes of their death were different; therefore we are paying special attention to improve mother-child health which is the main cause, the minister said while addressing a press conference on the situation in Thar at his office. He was flanked by Secretary Health Alamuddin Bullo.

He said that during the last 12 months, right from January 14 to December 14, 316 children died in Tharparkar district, of them only nine children died due to malnutrition. “It is important to note that out of 316 children, 83 died due to pre-term birth and low birth weight,” he said.

Giving details of the diseases which claimed lives of innocent children, Dahar said that during the last one year “pre-term and low birth weight claimed the lives of 83 infants, birth asphyxia claimed 56 lives, severe pneumonia 51 lives, Neo Natal Sespis 38 lives, Sespis 18 lives, respiratory distress 10 lives, malnutrition nine lives, diarrhoea 8 lives, other different diseases 43 lives.”

“Since the causes of the infant mortality in Thar are different but we have identified that poor mother-child health has claimed more lives, therefore special focus is being given to mother-child health,” Mr Dahar said.

He further said the health facilities have been improved in the hospitals of Tharparkar. “We have recently appointed lady doctors, specialists such gynaecologists, paediatricians and surgeon. Life saving medicines, including anti-snake bite serum, anti-rabies and such other have been provided in plenty,” he said.

Replying to a question regarding improvement in government hospitals, the minister said: “A board comprising members of civil society, journalists, philanthropists and people of good repute is being constituted at district level to monitor each and everything, including supplies of medicines, patients welfare, doctors attendance, free of cost provision of medicines and lab facilities. “This would be our ear and eyes on district level. I am sure it would produce genuine results to redress public grievances.”

The minister said that the doctors of Aga Khan and Indus hospital visited the hospitals of Tharparkar and expressed their satisfaction on the facilities being provided there and the lauded the government efforts.

Replying to another question regarding promotion of doctors, he said that 32 doctors were being promoted from grade B-19 to grade B-20, while other 280 doctors’ promotions from grade 18 to grade 19 were also in progress. “The promotions of 716 doctors from grade 17 to grade 18 will be made as soon as their ACRs are completed,” he assured.

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