The Sindh High Court (SHC) sought on Tuesday comments from the provincial health authorities regarding the utilisation of funds earmarked for the national programme to control maternal deaths.
Headed by Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, the division bench gave two weeks to the relevant authorities for filing comments. A leading gynaecologist, Dr Shershah Syed, had taken the federal and provincial authorities to the court for failing to successfully launch the programme.
The petitioner said that around 5,000 women die during pregnancy in Sindh every year due to lack of healthcare facilities in rural areas. He said there is a shortage of medical facilities as well as trained staff to attend to expecting mothers and handle deliveries safely.
Dr Shershah recalled that the government had launched the Maternal and Newborn Child Health Programme in the province several years ago. He claimed that while funds had been earmarked for the programme, the same had never been utilised. The court was pleaded to demand the record of the funds set aside for the maternal health programme from the authorities. Issuing notices to the health secretary and others, the bench directed them to submit such comments within two weeks.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2016.
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