Health services: ‘Pneumonia, diarrhoea key causes of child mortality’

The provincial government and UNICEF will implement the project

Our Correspondent June 01, 2016
The provincial government and UNICEF will implement the project. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: The provincial government and the United Nations Children’s Fund will launch a project to curtail the risk of deaths from diarrhoea and pneumonia among children, especially those under the age of five years.

Health Services Director General Mukhtar Hussain Syed chaired a meeting of the Provincial Child Survival Group in this regard on Wednesday. The participants of the meeting reviewed various strategies and interventions to address deaths from childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will provide the funds for the project, a press release issued by the Department of Health Services said.

Representatives of the World Health Organisation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Food Programme and the UNFPA, officials of the Policy and Strategic Planning Unit, the Integrated Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child Health and Nutrition Programme, the Pakistan Paediatrics Association and the EPI attended the meeting.

The officials representing the UNICEF said pneumonia and diarrhoea were among the leading causes of child mortality in the Punjab. He said the incidence of pneumonia and diarrhoea was reported to be the highest in the post neo-natal age group.

The health services director constituted a five-member core group comprising representatives of the Policy and Strategic Planning Unit, the Integrated Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child Health Programme, the World Health Organisation, the UNICEF and the Pakistan Paediatrics Association.

The core group has been tasked with holding regular meetings chaired by an officer of the government and the oversight of the Child Survival Group. This core group will present their progress reports in the Child Survival Group meetings.

UNICEF experts said that the child mortality could be controlled by implementing recommendations of the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) which provides an integrated frame work of key interventions proven globally to effectively prevent and treat childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea.

The UNICEF representative gave the Health DG a briefing on the nature of projects the UNICEF was implementing. He highlighted the cross-sectoral programme approach that involves Nutrition, WASH, HIV/AIDS, and Health and Education with a focus on frontline delivery for vulnerable populations (equity).

PSPU representative Saira Khan presented terms of reference of the Child Survival Group and the responsibilities of various partners.

A WHO representative gave an overview of the WHO’s mandate and the support it has been providing to the provincial government in several preventive, curative and overarching programmes.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2016.


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