The Health Department will mark the Mother and Child Health Week from November 15 to 21 in order to create awareness regarding the precautions needed to reduce maternal mortality rate under the Millennium Development Goal 4, Special Assistant to the chief minister on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique said on Wednesday.
Rafique, during a press briefing, said that the maternal mortality rate could be brought down significantly by solving mother and child health problems during and after pregnancy.
He said that after the government’s largely successful campaign against the dengue virus, their next target was to improve the Routine Immunisation Programme and to reduce the mortality rate in newborns and pregnant women. He said that the community should embrace the campaign, much as it did with the dengue virus, to create awareness.
National Programme for Family Planning and Primary Health provincial coordinator Dr Akhtar Rashid Malik said that 49,000 lady health workers and 5,000 other community workers would participate in the campaign during this week.
LHWs will visit rural and suburban areas of cities and would convey health information to household women, he said. He added that anti-worm tablets would be distributed among 7 million children from the ages of two to five years.
“Lady health workers will personally give these tables to the children.
Also, 0.6 million children, who had been missed earlier on, will be administered preventive injections,” he added.
Dr Rashid said that the theme of the week was ‘prevention against pneumonia’. He said injections of a pneumococcal vaccine, under the Punjab government’s Expanded Programmme on Immunisation, would also be administered to newly born children. He said the main cause of childhood mortality was diarrhoea and lady health workers would visit door-to-door to inform families about the benefits of hand washing and formulation of ORS.
He said that during this week 1 million pregnant women would be given Tetanus Toxoid (TT)-I and TT-II doses. “They will be told about the importance of a balanced diet and folic acid tablets will also be handed out.”
The doctor said that the flood impacted districts of DG Khan and Rajanpur would be specially focused on and special mosquito nets and folic acid tablets would be provided for the women there along with energy biscuits for children. Dr Rashid said health walks and galas would be organised in every district during the week.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2012.
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