“It’s 3A.M. The Baby is Coming. But the Hospital is 10Km away”.

Child Birth Assistance is growing dangerously distant for women in rural Pakistan. Pakistan’s political arena is flooded with the discussion on the most recent IMF loan. However, no dialogue has been initiated on country’s increasing infant mortality rate. This miserable high mortality rate of newborns in the country can be due the lack of awareness, related taboos, misplaced priorities of policymakers, untrained attendants and the financial restraints. To overcome the major causes of infant deaths, the country completely depends on lady health workers and midwives in sub-urban and rural areas, and when it comes to their salaries and incentives, our government is not willing to facilitate them adequately. In “Naya Pakistan” this issue has to be prioritized to overcome the traumatic situation.

According to the WHO (world health organization), Pakistan has one of the highest infant mortality rate in the world. Calculated to be around 40 deaths on the first day per every thousand births Pakistan stands ahead of many third world countries which include Afghanistan (29.0), and Somalia (29.7). Even in the developed nations of the world, Child Birth is considered a significant health risk for both the mother, and the child. A certain balance of diet, activity, medical check-ups and medication needs to be kept to go through the process of childbirth safely. In Pakistan, many of these issues are not readily understood by the general populace, add to that the social taboos attached to the procedure, child birth in Pakistan is a relatively complex procedure. Mothers are usually kept on a traditional diet without any regards to their actual needs, and many of them have to go through regular periods of activity despite their pregnancy. This can cause a lot of unprecedented issues during the process of birth. This problem needs to be dealt with urgently.This also represents a large untapped market currently present in rural and sub urban Pakistan.

Pakistan goes through 23.0 live births per every thousand individuals every year and 18 of these births take place in the lower tier socio economic classes. A UNICEF report on child mortality revealed Pakistan to have the worst new-born mortality rate. UNICEF said as many as three million children could be saved each year with more investment in quality care at delivery. In Pakistan, 80% of newborn deaths could be prevented with skilled birth attendants. This can be dealt by providing on-call emergency child birth assistance, a 24/7 medical assistance helpline called e.g. “Mashwara”, and provision of necessary hospital services in complicated pregnancies. The emergency child birth assistance can be provided through a team of trained gynecologists and nurses, together with a fully equipped, surgery ready ambulance.

MUHAMMAD IBRAHIM YAHYA,

Faisalabad, December 23.w