ISLAMABAD (APP) - Vice Chancellor Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Prof. Dr. Mehmudul Hassan butt Monday said that mortality rate, both infant and maternal is one of the highest in the country. "We should take concrete steps to reduce this rate to its lowest possible level," he said while addressing a human resource challenges partnership ceremony between the AIOU and Pakistan institute for mothers and new-borns (PAIMAN), JSI research and training institute here. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two organisations for collaboration in educating and training of 200 girls in selected districts of Baloshistan and the NWFP for better child and mother care was signed. As per the agreement the university will prepare special courses and also provide skills to the students who will later on be recruited as lady workers in these areas. Dr. Nabila ali, chief of PAIMAN revealed that rate of infant and maternal mortality is high in rural areas, especially in provinces of balochistan and nwfp due to lack of awareness. She said that the problem can be controlled by educating mothers in these areas. However, she deplored that they were facing the problem of lack of suitable educated girls who could be recruited for this noble cause. She hoped that with the collaboration of AIOU they would be able to get qualified staff for this purpose. Highlighting the role of AIOU in imparting skills and education to people of the far flung areas of the country, Prof. Butt said that the faculty of mass education will finish the task of educating 200 girls for the project by September 2010 who will deliver the message of better health for mother and child in the identified areas. the MoU was signed by Ilyas Ahmed, registrar AIOU and dr. Nabila Ali on behalf of the AIOU and PAIMAN respectively. Other senior people from USAID, Ministry of Health, and faculty members of the AIOU were present on the occasion.