Pakistan Observer

Save the children urges for expanding LHWs services

Thursday, August 11, 2011 - Islamabad—Save the Children on Wednesday urged to increase the number of Lady Health Workers (LHWs) to expand maternal and child health services in the country. “Health workers are the real heroes so we urge everyone in Pakistan and around the world to support the call for 100% coverage of Lady Health Workers and Community Midwives to prevent newborn and maternal deaths.” says David Wright, Country Director, Save the Children. Save the Children said that the fact that neonatal mortality rate at 54 per 1000 live births is unchanged for many years further complicates the situation.

A solution to these problems is to ensure 100% coverage of frontline health workers, which stands at 65% leaving 35% of most vulnerable populations without access to maternal and child health services, it added. It said Pakistan in recent years has achieved some progress in reducing the maternal and infant mortality rates. However, with current maternal mortality rate of 276 deaths per 100,000 live births, infant mortality rate of 78 deaths for 1000 live births and under five mortality rate of 94 deaths, the country is at risk of not achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.

It said that it is possible to achieve improvements in household healthcare seeking behaviors with an overall 25-30% reduction in prenatal and neonatal mortality by ensuring coverage of Lady Health Workers and giving them appropriate training. With time running out for the Millennium Development Goals to be met, Save the Children is imploring the government to make firm commitments to boost the number of front-line health workers in this year’s UN General Assembly meetings scheduled to be held on September 20, it said.

Meanwhile, Save the Children and partners have launched a global social media campaign to press for the training and deployment of more health workers, particularly in areas where access to health services is minimal.

Over 250 organizations from across the world, including in Pakistan, have come together for the joint call to action. With less than six weeks to go to the UN meeting, campaigners suggest that other countries follow the example of Germany which has agreed $3.1m to help fund new health workers and Norway, the most generous donor for health, it added.—APP

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