Bringing lady doctors back

Women’s education and availability of appropriate healthcare for them are necessary for protecting their health

Editorial November 26, 2019

In view of the facts that Pakistan’s population growth rate is close to two per cent, maternal mortality rate is 178 per 1,00,000 live births and female literacy rate is only 48 per cent, the initiative to bring lady doctors back to the profession can only be welcomed. The technology-driven initiative is being spearheaded by the Dow University of Health Sciences in collaboration with Educast that specialises in technology-based remote training. The IT-based programme aims to make 35,000 lady doctors part of the country’s medical workforce. In the past 18 months, 700 female doctors, including 700 of those who have settled abroad, have resumed professional practice. Most lady doctors quit practice due to family or social issues. Through the new initiative they are being facilitated to resume practice. These female doctors are to serve mainly people from the low-income groups, especially those living in far-flung rural areas where healthcare facilities are difficult to access. They will be mostly dealing with gynaecological, obstetrics and other issues affecting women.

Women’s education and availability of appropriate healthcare for them are necessary for protecting their health and for controlling the population growth. In Pakistan as well as in most Third World countries, low female literacy rate is one of the significant causes of the runaway increase in population and the unsatisfactory maternal and infant mortality rates. At preset maternal and infant mortality rates are too high in the country. Also, there is the issue of stunting in children. All this makes a strong case for increasing female literacy rate and for providing women with professional counselling. In countries with low literacy rate women fall victim to fistula. If the condition is not treated well in time, it causes a painful death. In the last stages of the disease even husband and family abandon the victim. The problem is caused when a dead baby is left in the womb for several days. The new initiative will greatly help mitigate female health issues. 

Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2019.

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