A disturbing child mortality rate of 40,000 per annum in the country has been a major worrying factor , but an awareness programme initiated by Sindh government, has helped bring it down considerably, revealed experts during a 12-day conference, to last from 13th to 24th December in Karachi.
The problem is acute in South Asia, but Pakistan has been considerably succeeded in controlling the malaise after the Sindh government launched a Child Surveillance programme, and helped it spread to rural areas where awareness is far more necessary than among urban folks.
A whole team of doctors, engaged in the exercise relied on their experiences and even have been touring the interior to convey to rural folks as to how save children of 2 to 5 years of age from dying. They included Professor Dr Junaid Ashraf, Principal of Dow Medical University, Dr M.N.Lal, Director of the programme in Sindh, Dr Mushtaq Memon, President, Pakistan Pediatric Association, Dr Jamal Mirza, Director National Institute of Child Health, JPJMC, Dr Jamil, President Karachi Chapter of PPA , and Dr Fehmia, Head of Department of , Civil Hospital, Karachi, and others.
They all dwelt on symptomatic and preventive care to protect pregnant mothers and the child at the time of birth and neo-natal care. They said that major causes of child mortality, which in 1992 was 132 per 1,000, has now come down to 89 per 1,000 kids.
The Child Survival programme, a specialized department in Civil Hospital, Karachi, relies on Outpatients Department (OPD) to attend to atleast 50 percent of children between ages of 2 and 5 years, Besides the CHK now has a 100-bed facility to cure children suffering from pneumonia, diarrhea , and lack of vaccinations at the time of birth,
The Sindh government programme, called Integrated Management of Childhood Illness has started with the help of World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF, Pakistan and international donor agencies, which include Bill Gates Foundation, pharmaceutical firms, philanthropists etc,said Dr Lal, supervising the programme since last couple of years.T
It has paid rich dividends, for the Sindh programme, ranks on top of such projects in the remaining three provinces of the country. The WHO has appreciated the Sindh Government efforts. The programme, currently on, relies on group discussions of doctors and relevant staff under expert medical practitioners. Emphasis on training the staff dealing with problem, and also educate mothers in rural areas about prevention and cure.