KARACHI: Midwives will be trained in 18-month-long courses and will also be paid monthly stipends under an ongoing community training course, aimed to reduce the increasing rate of mortality among mothers and children, the incharge of the provincial project for mothers and children, Dr Jan Badar, said on Friday.
Five hundred women are currently being trained to provide healthcare at centres in their own districts, said Badar, who added that the trained midwives will provide health and neonatal care to mothers and children under supervision.
In Pakistan, 314 mothers out of every 100,000 and 94 out of every 1,000 children under the age of five, die due to a number of childbirth-related problems.
Health minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed has asked that special attention be paid to the midwifery training project, that was initiated in 2007 and will continue till 2013, said Badar, who added that the project aims to lower the number of mortalities among women from 314 to 140.
It also seeks to lower the mortality rate among children from 94 to 45, for which, 285 trained midwives have already been appointed at a number of health centres at districts across the province.
Earlier, Ahmed had said that the government was committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, related to the quality of life for mother and child, by the year 2015.Pakistan has high maternal, neonatal and infant mortality rates so a mechanism must be devised to address this issue, Ahmed had said, adding that the salary and service structure of midwives will also be revised.
The average number of births per woman in Pakistan is 4.2, said Badar, who went on to say that the number needs to be brought down to 2.2.
Iran, Bangladesh and Indonesia have achieved a rate of 2.5 births per woman despite introducing family planning methods in their health system a decade after their introduction in Pakistan.
A project is being initiated across the province to create awareness among the people regarding birth control, Badar concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2010.
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