Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday said that his government, with its focused efforts on children’s health, has successfully brought a drastic reduction in child mortality rate from 104 to 46 per 1,000 live births over a period of five years. “These are not my figures but they have been revealed in a UNICEF supported survey 2022”. H
e said this while talking to media after attending a programme of Child Life Foundation, organised to celebrate 100,000 telemedicine consultations in Sindh at Civil Hospital. The programme was attended by Secretary Health Zulfiqar Shah, ChildLife CEO Dr Ahson Rabani and others.
“It is a big success of our child health programmes, specially launched through public-private partnership”, Shah said and added in 2018, the Economist Intelligence Unit rated Sindh as 6th best in partnerships in Asia. He recalled that his government’s partnership with ChildLife started in 2010 with the sole objective of improving pediatric emergency care.
“By 2018 free emergency service was established in five government hospitals in Karachi and now no child in the city is more than 30 minutes away from world class, 24/7, free emergency services,” the chief minister said proudly.
He said that in 2019, nine children emergency care were established in hospitals of Karachi, Hyderabad, Benazirabad, Larkana and Sukkur, where more than 900,000 children were being treated annually. Murad said that the partnership with ChildLife Foundation had now translated into establishment of ‘Telemedicine Satellite Centres’ to improve service at DHQs/THQs as 2/3rd of Sindh’s population lives outside of major cities.
“In 2020, telemedicine service was extended to all districts of the province and from December 2022, it would further be extended to all THQs”, he said, adding that by 2024, the services would be provided to all tehsils of the province. Syed said that the 100,000 telemedicine consultations milestone had been achieved. “Its impact is quality consultation by Pediatric Emergency Medicine Specialists who are accessible round the clock.
The telemedicine system avoids visits to major cities, saves critical time to treatment and a huge financial burden on parents”.
The chief minister replying to a question said that the PTI government had failed to strengthen the national economy. “They [PTI] have no vision to bring the economy on the right track”. Responding to another question, the CM said that the prime minister had taken him into confidence on closing the markets by 7 or 8 p.m. “I have directed the commissioners of Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur, to consult with the stakeholders so that the decision to close the markets early in the evening could be implemented in the national interest,” he said.
Earlier, CM Shah visited the control room of the telemedicine centre to inspect the telemedicine procedure. Once fiber optic cable was laid in rural areas, he said, the entire province would be connected through the telemedicine systems.