The government will legislate to establish an authority dealing with mother and child health as well as population welfare in an attempt to meet the Millennium Development Goals, Health Secretary Hassan Iqbal said on Wednesday.
Minimising the maternal mortality rate is a big challenge that can only be met if all deliveries are conducted under the supervision of a doctor or a trained birth attendant, Iqbal said at a meeting here.
A campaign must be launched to make rural women aware of the delivery facilities being offered by the government, he said.
The meeting was informed that a consolidated programme for the provision of healthcare facilities for infants was being initiated at a cost of Rs2 billion. This programme would be launched in all districts and lady health workers would have a vital role to play in it.
The health secretary directed officials to make sure that trained staff is available at basic health units and that the 24-hour labour rooms there are monitored properly.
He said that Rs50 million was being spent on ambulances to transport pregnant women and serious patients to health facilities.
He said that lady health workers needed to play a bigger part in promoting hygiene and teaching rural women preventive measures against diseases.
Numerous diseases could be prevented by teaching people to wash their hands before eating or after using the toilet. Additional Secretary (Technical) Dr Anwar Janjua, Health Services Director General Dr Tanvir Ahmad and Mother, Newborn and Child Health Programme Director Dr Zafar Ikram also attended the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2013.
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