Low birth weight key cause of Thar children’s deaths, says minister

KARACHI: Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho said on Monday that around half of the children dying in Thar died within one month of their birth and low birth weight was one of the leading causes of their deaths.

“Around 50 per cent of children dying in Thar die within one month of their birth and the leading causes of their deaths are low birth weight, septicaemia ... and birth asphyxia or deprivation of oxygen at the time of birth,” said the minister while speaking at a press conference in her office.

She said the provincial health ministry was dealing with those conditions by setting up more health facilities closer to homes of the people of Thar.

Besides, she added, the provision of cash to pregnant women was another step of the plan to enable them to reach health facilities. Besides, she added that food packages would be given to pregnant women. Dr Pechuho said the government would establish 80 more dispensaries in the desert district, where trained community midwives and lady health workers would be posted to help pregnant women in having better reproductive health. Besides, pregnant women would be given cash for visiting the health facilities as well as good packages to improve their nutritional status.

She said actions of the Sindh government and the health department had nothing to do with the federal government’s plans regarding Thar. She said the Sindh government had been working to improve social, economic and health conditions in Thar for many years and the same would continue in future.

Anti-measles campaign

The minister said the ongoing measles campaign was successful in the rest of Sindh but admitted that there were certain issues in Karachi.

Such problems were tangibly detected in Korangi, New Karachi etc. However, she was confident that those issues would be handled in the coming five days of the campaign.

She applauded the authorities concerned for achieving close to 100 per cent targets in the campaign in the rest of Sindh.

Regarding the provincial government’s plans to appoint doctors through walk-in interviews, she said there was an acute shortage of doctors in the province and it would require a couple of years at least if the ministry decided to appoint doctors through the public service commission.

She said half of the doctors did not accept the offer letters as they had to pursue their post-graduation and specialisation.

She said the ministry was hiring doctors on a contract basis through walk-in interviews and if they wanted to get themselves regularised, they would have to pass the public service commission test.

She added that those doctors would not be able to get themselves transferred from the place of their posting.

She said poliovirus was present in the environment and maximum efforts were being made to eradicate it from the country.

About the recent polio case reported in Karachi’s Gadap area, she said the affected child had been administered multiple doses of polio vaccine which saved her from paralysis.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2018


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