Pakistan tops list in child mortality rate: experts

Published: March 22, 2017

LAHORE: Pakistan tops the list in child mortality rate among South Asian countries. There is a need to be more efficient to reduce the child mortality rate and to devise an active system for mother and child healthcare.

This was said by Chairperson South Asian Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (SAFOG) Professor Rubina Sohail while speaking to The Express Tribune the other day.

She said the two leading causes behind child mortality were complications due to premature birth and malnutrition. She added, “These complications occur due to poverty and lack of education.”

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“It is most unfortunate that Pakistan stands last among all South Asian countries, including India, Bangladesh and Nepal,” she maintained.

Rubina Sohail said globally Pakistan stands with 26 per 1,000 child mortality rate as the region faces public health challenges in a demographic and geographic scale.

She pointed out South Asia is home to one sixth of the population, making it both the most populous and densely populated geographical region in the world.

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“The issue of population needed to be addressed on urgent basis by providing knowledge regarding better healthcare system and usage of modern medicines to the people,” she concluded.

The solution

Mayo Hospital Chief Executive Dr Asad Aslam and Acting Vice-Chancellor of King Edward Medical University (KEMU), told The Express Tribune, “To see the gravity of the situation, we have planned to initiate two years diploma course in child health at KEMU.”

He said the administration of KEMU has sent the proposal to health department and now it is subject to approval from the academic council.

He added, “Since it is an important decision by KEMU administration, several other diplomas in radiology, dermatology and gynecology will be started after its approval.”

Urgent need

Dr Zafarullah Khan Lashari of Mayo Hospital said, “Child death occurs due to pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea. In such cases, a diploma holder will be able to take care of mother and child especially in far-flung areas where people lack access to medical facilities.”

He also recommended breastfeeding, vaccines as well as improving water and sanitation to counter increasing child mortality rate.

He added few years back, the KEMU started teaching diploma courses in different disciplines but they are not being taught anymore.


According to study published in Lancet Medical Journal in 2016, 60% of the world’s 5.9 million children, who died before their fifth birthday, belonged to 10 countries in Asia and Africa.

The countries included India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, China, Angola, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Tanzania.

“The situation is alarming and we must do something for our mothers and children,” Dr Zafar commented.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2017.

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