Role of lady health workers vital to reduce maternal mortality: Saira

ISLAMABAD: State Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar here Wednesday underscored the need for enhancing role of lady health workers to reduce child and mother mortality rate in Pakistan.

Addressing a South Asian Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Conference, she cited example of Europe and Scandinavian countries where mortality rates are low due to increased role of health workers.

She said 30 percent mortality rate among child bearing mothers in Pakistan is due to excessive bleeding.

Educating women and families and small interventions can save precious lives of women and children, the minister noted.

She said doctors at big hospitals cannot reach everywhere so role of lady health workers, rural health centers and basic health units is vital.

The minister said a regional working group is being tasked to develop a common vision for maternal and child health for countries.

She said the conference will prove to be a major achievement and will give a major boost to regional partnerships.

There is a vast potential in learning from each other in the area of research and health policy, she said adding some countries in the region have taken major strides and there is much that the region can learn and benefit from the progress they have made.

She said the ministry has established a dashboard to maintain real time data on diseases.

She said technical personnel and experts in public health would be hired to better manage programmes, adding the government recognized the need for reliable data management and evidence based policy planning.

Sustainability and continuity of policies and strong political will are essential ingredients for a robust maternal and child healthcare programme, she remarked.

The conference recommended to put in place a mechanism for regional cooperation and formalize links and collaboration with research institutions conducting health policy and systems research in the region.

It called for establishment of a working group to formalize its recommendations.