KARACHI - Speakers at a virtual consultative session have called for a holistic response from government, development partners and private sector to ensure provision of quality reproductive health services to marginalized women of rural and peri-urban areas of Sindh to ensure reduction in mother and child mortality rate.

Renowned health experts from the public and private sectors shared their experiences and suggestions for addressing the challenges of mother and child health services especially in the prevailing pandemic.

The virtual consultative session was organized jointly by Health Service Academy and Research and Development Forum for Safe Motherhood.

In his remarks, Dr. Talib Lashari, Technical Advisor, CIP Secretariat, Population Welfare Department and Focal Person FP2020, highlighted various legislative and programmatic efforts undertaken by the Sindh government of Sindh to improve provision of integrated maternal, newborn, child health, nutrition and family planning services in the province.  

Head of Department of Public Health, Health Service Academy, Dr. Shahzad Ali Khan said that estimates show that the Covid-19 may lead to 31 percent increase in infant and maternal mortality in 12 months in Pakistan if health services remain halted.

Due to COVID-19 response and lockdown, mother and child health services have suffered badly, he said.

He suggested policy actions and steps for continuity of mother, newborn, child health and family planning services with respect and dignity. 

Dr Azra Ahsan form MCMNH shared with the participants that there were many anecdotal stories showing that mother and child health and reproductive services came to a standstill during COVID-19.  To address these challenges, it is imperative to find out innovative solutions for addressing problems being faced by women of remote areas. 

Dr. Amanullah, CEO, Forum for Safe Motherhood, also appreciated the great work done by the Sindh government in terms of enacting pro-women legislation.