Mother and child health: Diarrhoea and pneumonia cause most child deaths

Week-long child health campaign begins, experts hopeful.

Sher Khan April 26, 2011


Diarrhoea  and pneumonia are the major reasons of high mortality in children below five years of age in Pakistan, Dr Tahir Manzoor, a UNICEF health specialist, said on Monday.

Dr Manzoor was addressing a panel of experts and lady health workers at the inauguration of the Mother and Child Healthcare Week at Holiday Inn Hotel. The campaign has been organised by the Health Department in collaboration with the UNICEF.

Lady health workers will visit homes and hold group discussion sessions with mothers and mothers-to-be to spread awareness about their and their children’s health. Mothers and children, under five years of age, will be vaccinated where required.

Dr Manzoor said that a similar campaign earlier this year in Ghana had turned out a success with almost 50 per cent decline in infant mortality.  To achieve better results in Pakistan, he said, the campaign will be held twice a year.

He said that early age illnesses left severe detrimental impact on the children’s development.

The panel also discussed maternal mortality. It was pointed out that infant and maternal mortality rates were higher in Pakistan than its neighbouring countries. Aslam Chaudhary, the Health Department director general, said the district headquarters hospitals and the rural dispensaries had been put on alert for the week.

10 million ORS packets will be distributed to prevent diarrhoea

•  200,000 children will be vaccinated free of charge

•  300,000 health and hygiene sessions will be conducted for 4.4 million mothers

•  100,000 women will receive TT vaccinations

•  1.5 million pregnant women will be given iron/folic acid tablets

•  Pregnant women will be given at least four ante-natal check-ups and services of a skilled birth attendant

Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2011.

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