KARACHI -Sindh Secretary for Health Iqbal Hussain Durrani enumerated poor health status of women in Tharparkar compounded by negligible child spacing among the major factors leading to recent calamity in the area.
Talking to journalists at Karachi Press Club, he said repeated episodes of famine in the arid zone was not unusual nor was the fact that infant mortality rates in Sindh was 74 per 100,000.
“This makes it all the important to ensure that healthcare needs of people are accorded top priority with equal attention towards their nutritional status,” said the health secretary.
“It is time to ensure that the misfortune may neither recur in Thar nor hit any other part of the province,” he said.
The health secretary in reply to a question said the department could not be absolved of its responsibilities, however, there were also certain harsh realities that needed to be addressed through a pragmatic approach.
In this context, he referred to unwillingness among the doctors themselves to serve in remote areas, although they may be the domicile holders of the same zone.
Claiming that a strategy has been recently evolved to address actual healthcare needs of people, with major focus on preventive aspect, he said that USAID has agreed to expand its Maternal and Child Health Program to the remote areas of Sindh.
This, he said will compliment World Bank Program sponsored nutritional project providing “Therapeutic Food” to the malnourished children.
“Moreover local NGOs, of sound reputation as HANDS, have also been actively involved to assist government in implementing its public health policy, initially in Thar” said the health secretary.
Durrani said the budgetary allocation for health sector has registered a tremendous increase in five years time and there was urgency to raise the public health status through a coordinated approach.
In reply to another question, he said community midwives were being trained to improve access to quality reproductive health facilities with equal attention to modify public behaviour viz a viz their nutritional and health needs coupled with hygiene and cleanliness.
The health secretary responding to another query said 193 deaths have been registered in Thar since the famine hit the area. Sindh Secretary for Health, Iqbal Hussain Durrani during his visit to KPC was also accompanied by EDO – Health, Zafar Ijaz and Additional Secretary for Health, Mansoor Abbas.