“The provincial government will spend Rs20 billion in three years to provide safe drinking water for children in rural areas. This will help control diarrhoea among children,” said Health Secretary Babar Hayat Tarar on Tuesday.
He was speaking at the inauguration of a five-day workshop on diarrhoea prevention and control organised by Save the Children in collaboration with Policy and Strategic Planning Unit.
Tarar asked the organisers to collaborate with the Health Department in the safe drinking water project.
Adviser to Chief Minister on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique said the government was spending Rs100 billion annually on public health projects.
“Unfortunately, we have been unable to achieve the targets. This is because of poor management skills and lack of capacity.” Save the Children country head David Skinner said his organisation was committed to helping the government achieve its diarrhoea programme targets.
Participants of the workshop discussed child survival challenges in Pakistan with a focus on a programme by Save the Children on diarrhoea prevention and control in Lahore and Gujranwala. Problems in the healthcare system were also discussed. Reckitt and Benckiser representatives shared their expectations from the diarrhoea prevention and control programme.
Participant stressed on ensuring public-private partnerships for success of the project.
Standing Committee on Health member Nausheen Hamid said, “Diarrhoea is responsible for 26,000 deaths of children under five years. It has become the second most fatal disease for children. It can only be controlled through strong-public private partnerships. Integrated efforts are needed to control death rates among children.”
Pakistan has the fourth highest burden of annual under-five deaths in the world; nearly one in 10 children do not live to see their fifth birthday.
According to the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2013, diarrhoea has a national prevalence of 23 per cent among children under five, they said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2014.
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