The government has taken stringent steps to provide the best possible healthcare facilities to the masses, especially mothers and children in rural areas, Minister for Excise and Taxation Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman said while talking to various delegations at his house on Sunday.
He said the government had made women’s representation compulsory in all government institutions, autonomous boards, and research and development centres, and 25,000 women had gotten the right of representation under the law. He said programmes to provide vocational training and employment opportunities to women would be launched so they could play a proactive role in the socio-economic uplift of the country.
The minister said 20 per cent of births in the province were supervised by skilled attendants.
He said the government was looking to increase the percentage to 90 per cent towards the end of the year. The contraceptive prevalence rate, he said, was 36 per cent. The government was trying to raise it to 55 per cent by the end of this year, he said.
Skilled birth attendants, lady health visitors and lady health workers (LHW) had been appointed at health centres, he said.
Rehman said the maternal mortality rate in areas covered by the LHWs was 147/100,000 compared to 300 to 350/100,000 in areas not covered by the LHWs. The mortality rate for children under the age of five was 94/10,000. “This will be brought down to 45/1,000 by the end of this year.”
He said the newborn mortality rate (54/1,000) would be brought down to 25/1,000 by the end of the year and the infant mortality rate (77/1,000) to 40/1,000 by the end of this year.
“The government is cognizant of the problems faced by the medical community and will address their issues.”
He said the government was presently focusing on primary and protective health care in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
He said the Health Insurance Cards Scheme would be launched at a cost of Rs2.50 billion. He said 3,000 new posts for nurses had been created and Rs1.43 billion had been allocated for this purpose.
Rehman said nurses and paramedical staff had a vital role in providing basic health facilities. He said the government felt that the nursing sector was neglected and would take effective steps to upgrade the socio-economic conditions and skills set of the nursing cadre.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2015.