Sindh Minister for Health and Population Welfare Dr. Azra Pechuhoon Tuesday chaired a meeting on universal health coverage in the province with Joint Mission of UN Health Development and International Civil Society Organization Partners of Global Action Plan.
The meeting provided a recap of the efforts that were underway and the ones in the motion of being implemented in Sindh, a press release said. The meeting discussed that the public-private contracts would be revised to ensure basic health care to the masses at their doorsteps.
It was told that measures had been taken to streamline the health infrastructure in practice and one of the steps to achieve that entailed combining separate illnesses under one program – dengue, malaria, and leishmaniasis under vector-borne diseases, and tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS under the program of the communicable disease.
Such measures helped the health department to better manage resources, screenings, and treatments for the diseases to provide better services, it was added.
It was noted that the Lady Health Workers (LHWs) were a great resource at the community level and could cover a large scale when it came to outreach, immunization, and reproductive health campaigns.
“However due to the immense team of LHWs, funding must be increased to provide them with adequate salaries and pensions.”
The meeting noted that Karachi was one of the areas that needed more LHWs due to its vast population.
It was told that Sindh had started regular screening and treatment for Hepatitis C, and providing a birth dose against Hepatitis B.
It noted that the province was also witnessing instances of drug-resistant tuberculosis and typhoid, and one of its reasons was the lack of regulation in dispensaries and pharmacies as over-the-counter medication might be aggravating the situation when credible prescription medication was required.
It was decided that due to HIV being a hidden disease due to stigma, every pregnant woman would be screened for the disease at the DHO level.
Auto-lock syringes would be rolled out at all health facilities to discourage the use of sharing needles.
The meeting stressed that law enforcement, health service providers, and the community must be sensitized to HIV to reduce stigma.
It was told that as family planning was a major part of population welfare, and contraceptives, birth control, and reproductive counseling was being provided throughout the province.”
Sindh is the first province in the country to provide access to a self-injecting contraceptive called Sayana Press,” it was informed.
Secretary Health Dr. Kazim Jatoi, Director General Health Services Dr. Irshad Memon, Director Development Dr. Dabeer Ahmed, and Deputy DGs from RMNCH, CDC, NCDs have attended the meeting.