Health

Child mortality a great challenge ahead, say health experts

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ISLAMABAD: Health experts on Wednesday stressed to adopt a pro-active approach against the child mortality, calling it a great challenge for the country as United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund’s (UNICEF) recent report on newborn deaths revealed that one out of every twenty-two children dies at the time of birth.

Talking to APP, Health Services Academy’s Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Unit (MNCH) Assistant Professor Sameena Khalid referring to the report said that it was an alarming situation that the country was considered as the riskiest place for the newborn even ahead of eight sub-Saharan African poor countries.

“The statistics reveal that almost 250,000 newborns lose their lives, which is an eye-opener for the authorities concerned and the situation demands practical emergency measures to overcome the issue” she warned.

She said the most effective tool was to create awareness among pregnant women to adopt appropriate dietary and precautionary measurements during pregnancy.

“It is a common phenomenon that people bring the patients to the hospitals at the late stage due to economic in-affordability to monitor consistent health during pregnancy. The risk of child mortality enhances as the doctors are left with no other option at the eleventh hour but to do emergency delivery,” she regretted.

She stressed for refresher training of midwives on modern lines to properly handle the pregnant women and refer the patients to hospitals in time. The deliveries must not be handled by midwives to avoid complications and unauthorised prescription by them must also be discouraged in order to reduce the growing child mortality rates, she urged.

She also stressed the availability of 24/7 clean water and skilled staff in the hospitals.

“The women in our country have no say, particularly on their health issues and they must be acquainted with their due rights”, she added.

She also asked for discouraging traditional “Gutti”  and said mothers should be forced to breastfeed their infants so they have a strong immune system, “a God’s blessing against all ailments”.

Head of Gynaecology Department at Pakistan Institution of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Sayeda Batool said the health of mother and child were interlinked as the majority of premature deliveries and birth of malnourished children were due to the presence of different diseases in mothers. She said only a healthy mother can give birth to a healthy child and pregnant women’s’ health must be monitored right from the beginning to the end.

She, however, stressed to easy access of every individual for an affordable treatment to avoid such complexities.

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