In the last few years, Pakistanis have begun celebrating Mother’s day with fervour. However, Pakistan remains one of the toughest countries in the world to give birth and raise children in. Save the Children’s State of World’s Mothers report was released at the start of this month. The report confirmed that in the last 15 years, globally maternal mortality has halved and infant mortality has decreased by a quarter.

Pakistan however, is on the verge of missing some of it’s important Milenium Development Goals, which include reducing infant mortality and maternal death. We have yet to restrict its under-five child mortality to two-thirds and maternal mortality to three quarters. For a nation that romanticizes motherhood so often, these stats are fairly disappointing.

South Asia as a whole is home to one-third of all under-five thirds, and Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is one of the most high-burden places in the world. Ironically, Imran Khan, whose party is leading the KPK government, has not seriously raised the issue of maternal-infant mortality.

Child-mother health was one section which could have benefitted profoundly from the devolution of the health sector to the provinces. Each province has a different set of social, economic and political challenges when it comes to maternal and child health. Still, simply dumping donor’s money isn’t sufficient. There is a need for a separate maternal-child health policy with specific, manageable, time-bound targets. Each province has a Women Development department and it is unclear from their websites what they have been up to so far. Now that Pakistan is on the verge of missing two key women/child related MDGs, why are these women-related ministries and departments not working on a comprehensive maternal health policy? And why don’t they have any stats related to their performance in this sector in the last one year? Perhaps that is one thing the KP province in particular should be reviewing with regard to it’s new government on the anniversary of the May 11 elections, instead of protesting a bygone issue already pending before the courts. Has there been any attempt so far to coordinate different departments related to health, women and population welfare to coordinate over this issue?

If the provincial governments, are able to improve the maternal-child health, it can become a major political victory for them. Let’s not forget, more than half of Pakistan’s electorate is female, and an effort to improve the mother’s plight is bound to win those hearts.