Published Date: May 8, 2014
Advocating Health for Newborn in Pakistan in the Context of World Health Assembly – SDPI Press Release
immediate prioritization of maternal and newborn health, the panelists
expressed their concerns over the alarming newborn health indicators in
Pakistan. They said that countless mothers and infants die during
pregnancy and childbirth, without being counted by government records
and without ever accessing life-saving health services. This was
expressed in a panel discussion “Advocating Health for Newborn in
Pakistan in the Context of World Health Assembly” jointly organized by
World Vision International Pakistan, Save the Children and Sustainable
Development Policy Institute (SDPI). Ms. Romina Khurshid Alam, MNA,
Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz PML(N) chaired the session.
discussion was organized in order to highlight the importance of
upcoming 67th World Health Assembly in May in Switzerland and to provide
child health stakeholders a platform to come together around this very
chairing the discussion, Romina Khurshid Alam, endorsed the Every
Newborn Action Plan. She also ensured that present government will
address inequalities and give particular priority to the most vulnerable
children and women.
of the importance of Infant Mortality, experts said that one in every
11 children in Pakistan dies before they reach the age of five. Over 50%
of those deaths happen during the first 28 days of a child’s life. The
under-five mortality rate has reduced from 138 deaths per 1,000 live
births in 1990 to 89 in 2012, which is insufficient to reach Millennium
Development Goal (MDG).
Javed Akram, Vice Chancellor, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences
(PIMS) highlighted that government should make primary and secondary
healthcare functioning, especially in rural areas. It is sad to know
that our country has 6.5 % GDP for health, however, situation in
Pakistan is worse than his neigh-boring countries i.e. India, Srilanka,
Nepal etc. Further, he recommended Iran as a model to follow.
Mobashir Ahmed Bhatti, Chief, Pakistan Association of Integrative
Medicine (PAIM) spoke about the importance of accountable mechanism to
be implemented at regional and local level.
Abdul Basit Khan, Executive Director, National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS) emphasized the need of effective advocacy campaigns by media and stakeholders.
Dr. Nabeela Ali, Chief of Party, JSI
Research and Training Institute, Inc. discussed that the coverage of
interventions to save newborn and maternal lives needs serious efforts
and attention of GOP. It is important to introduce innovations to
address diversity in different provinces to reach the women and families
and also educating them about healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy.
Qudsia Uzma, Director Health & Nutrition, Save The Children,
Pakistan shared that Pakistan held highest ratio of stillbirths
globally. She requested the government to take steps to bring down child
mortality rate. "More than 200,000 children in Pakistan die each year
during childbirth or on its first day of life which is the highest rate
globally," she said.
Maqsooda Kasi, Integrated Health Specialist, World Vision International
Pakistan emphasized that real problem is lack of political will,
financial gaps and failure to address other social determinants of health. It is necessary to ensure
that the most vulnerable mothers and children are placed at the center
of data collection, policies, programming and also address social,
cultural, financial and geographic factors that undermine maternal and
giving the recommendations, Fred Witteveen, National Director World
Vision (WV) Pakistan suggested while calling on all World Health
Organisation member states to endorse the Every Newborn Action Plan;
commit to review and revise national plans with a newborn focus and
ensure their implementation, to scale up progress towards meeting the
Global Nutrition Tragets endorsed at the 65th World Health
Assembly in 2012, including finalizing the global monitoring framework
and to address inequalities and give particular priority to the most
vulnerable children and women.
Vaqar Ahmed, Deputy Executive Director of Sustainable Development
Policy Institute presented the vote of thanks to participants.