At the closing event of a five-year (2013 to 2018) Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH), a service component of USAID/Pakistan’s MCH Program conducted at the Najmuddin Auditorium last week and attended by among other dignitaries by midwives and mothers from far-flung, remote areas of districts like Tharparkar, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Ghotki, narrated their stories and said that LHWs, gynecologists and District Health Officers (DHOs) trained by MCHIP helped in lowering maternal and infant mortality by teaching them how to control infections, perform safe deliveries and prevent newborns deaths by using cheap but effective medicines and techniques.
The attendees were informed that hundreds of midwives, Lady Health Workers (LHWs), Gynecologists and District Health Officers (DHOs) were trained under the five-year program by the experts on lowering down maternal and infant mortality rate from 311 per 100,000 live births to less than one hundred and fifty, training manuals were prepared and distributed to health workers and improved capacity of the training institutions and trainers to promote modern health practices and techniques to achieve desired results in the area of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. All mothers present on the vent were also garlanded by Jhpiego.
Mothers, community midwives and lady health workers, female physicians and gynecologists as well as public health officials appreciated the efforts of MCHIP of the Jhpiego Pakistan for saving hundreds of lives of mothers during childbirth, infants and children under the age of five and preventing diseases by vaccinating thousands of children in the selected districts of Sindh during last five years. Needless to add, the day a baby is born is the most dangerous day for the mother and child in the rural areas of Sindh. But the good news is that according to a WHO report almost 70 percent of newborn deaths are preventable, and many lives can be saved with relatively simple and inexpensive interventions.
“Due to the capacity building and training provided by the MCHIP specialists and experts to us, infection rate at the labor rooms at the public and private hospitals has been brought down to five from 30 percent, which has saved hundreds of lives of mothers and infants throughout Sindh during last five years”, said Dr. Fauzia Naveed from Christian Hospital, Kunri while speaking at concluding ceremony of USAID’s Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) Services Component at Najmuddin Auditorium of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sindh Healthcare Commission Dr. Minhaj Kidwai, Director General Health Sindh Dr. Muhammad Akhlaq Khan, USAID Pakistan Lead Dr. Sangita Patel, Jhpeigo Pakistan Country Director Dr. Farid Midhat and other government and public health officials were also present on the occasion.
Tia Bai, a community midwife from a remote village in Tharparkar said the training by the MCHIP officials helped her to save lives of several women during deliveries and their newborn babies by using the antiseptic gel and medicines that help in preventing blood loss and added that now she was disseminating the knowledge and skills she acquired from her trainers to other women in her area.
Other lady health workers and public officials claimed that service delivery and support provided under the MCHIP program brought a revolution in the areas where they were working as quality of life was improved in those areas due to improvements in local healthcare facilities and added that this program was a model for the provincial government to replicate it in other districts of the province.
Chief Executive Officer of the Sindh Healthcare Commission Dr. Minhaj Kidwai lauded that USAID and Jhpeigo Pakistan for their support in lowering the maternal and infant mortality rate in the province, saying this area needed urgent attention of the authorities as thousands of women and infants were dying whose lives could be saved by bringing little improvement in healthcare facilities and services. He said Sindh Healthcare Commission was formally being launched in Sindh and added that government needed support from international agencies and organizations as gigantic task of providing healthcare facilities to remote areas was not possible for the authorities alone.
“Sindh healthcare commission would not be doing policing in the province, instead we would be focusing on capacity building, registration and implementation of regulations. Issue of service delivery would also be our focus”, he maintained.
DG Health Services Sindh Dr. Muhammad Akhlaq Khan felicitated USAID for capacity building and human resource development in the area of Mother and Child Health, as well as Immunization and hoped that these services and date would be used effectively by the provincial government in providing better healthcare facilities to women and children in Sindh.
The closing ceremony was also addressed by Country Director Jhpeigo Dr. Farid Midhat, Technical Advisor MCHIP Dr. Farhana Shahid, Dr. Sahib Jan Badar, Dr. Sangita Patel and health officials from Sindh, Balochistan provinces while several others Including Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho, Begum Shahnaz Wazir Ali sent their video messages, praising USAID and Jhpeigo for their services in the area of health in Sindh.