DYING TO GIVE BIRTH : MATERNAL HEALTH IN PAKISTAN
Karachi, April 18: In order to address Pakistan’s commitment to maternal and neonatal health as enshrined in Millennium Development Goals 3, 4 and 5 to which Pakistan is a signatory, the Federal Government, through the Ministry of National Regulations and Services has taken a proactive initiative to set up a steering committee, whose main remit is to strive towards ameliorating the status of women through improved maternal health awareness and facilities.
The National Maternal Reproductive Child and Neonatal Health Steering Committee (MRCNH), under the chairmanship of Mr. Faridullah Khan Secretary of Ministry of Regulations and Services and Dr. Ghazna Siddiqui, General Secretary aims to provide a national working framework and to create a platform and conduit for both national and international stakeholders who are pivotal in their role in Maternal and Child Health.
With representation from all provincial departments of health, together with key stakeholders in Maternal and Child Health, including Ms. Rabiya Javeri Agha, a strong advocate for women rights and pivotal members from the field of Obstetrics such as Professors Ghazala Mahmood, Khalida Waheed and Rubina Hussain, the committee is committed to work towards reducing maternal deaths in the country.
Pakistan has a population estimated at 180 million with approximately 32 million women in the reproductive age group of 15-45 years. Despite having one of the best Public Health infrastructures in Asia, it also has one of the worst maternal mortality ratios worldwide. It is estimated that 260 to 490 women die for every 100,000 live births in Pakistan, with this figre reaching up to 490 deaths for every 100,000 live births in certain rural regions. One in every 89 Pakistani women dies due to causes related t childbirth as compared to 1 in 8,000 in the developed world.
The National MRCNH Committee is mandates to ensure educational and clinical competencies capacity building at country level, of all health cadres involved in the care of mothers and their newborns. This will be implemented through a series workshops, and training sessions for health care worker to improve skills in Emergency Obstetric Care and Neonatal Resuscitation. Monitoring and evaluation of the impact of this intervention will also be provided by this group. Furthermore, it will serve as a central body and vehicle assisting executing partners with the effective delivery and planning of Maternal and Child Health Services.
“The set up of this committee is an important and crucial step”, says Dr. Siddiqui “it highlights the importance that the Government of Pakistan, places on the health of its mothers and newborns, and we hope significant progress can be made to improve the live of women in Pakistan, through the efforts of this Committee”.
THOSE WHO CREATE DIFFERENCES ON LANGUAGE BASIS ARE THE ENEMIES OF THE COUNTRY – PIR MAZHAR UL HAQ
Karachi, April 18: Senior Provincial Minister for Education Pir Mazhar ul Haq has said that those who live in Sindh, no matter what language they speak, are Sindhis. Besides English and Urdu, Sindhi language will continue to be taught in government schools and politicians should not teach hatred in educational institutions. Educational institutions should not be made centre for politics.
This he said while addressing as a chief guest at Gul Hassan Lashari School Gizri Campus in consolidation and adopt ceremony here on Wednesday. He said that advertisement had been given in leading newspapers to fill 19000 vacant posts of teachers in order to compensate the shortage of the teachers in government schools. The tests would be conducted at Army , Navy and Air force Centres to discourage cheating culture. He said that the present democratic government would clear educational institutions from the politics of hatred. Education is not complete without peace and education would be spread in every corner of the province. Pir Mazhar ul Haq added, ‘Positive criticism is welcome but negative and for nothing criticism can not be appreciated. Sindhi language is being taught all over the Sindh and all possible measures are being taken to promote it.’ Minister Education said that from next year stipends would be given to the girl students from class one to class five to enhance literacy rate at primary level. He mentioned that Sindh Education Department was already providing stipends to the girls from class six to class eight Rs.2600/- per annum. He said that fifteen thousand students were being given Rs.1500/- per month who passed test from ZABIST. Pir Mazhar ul Haq said, “We are not against private educational institutions, we just want to compete them in healthy manner and Sindh Education Department will provide direct budget to schools to enable them to resolve their financial matters. He said that nine hundred Sindhi Language teachers were being appointed to teach Sindhi all over the province. He said that those who created differences on the basis of language were the enemies of the province and the country. He said that through consolidation policy Sindh Education Department would hold the administrative and all kinds of control over these schools. On this occasion, Secretary Education, Siddiq Memon, Director Schools Karachi Niaz Ahmed Leghari, Chief Program Officer, RUS, Pervaiz Sehar and chairman Ravians Ziaul Islam also spoke on the occasion.
SHAREEF BROTHERS CAN FOOL NO ONE – SHAZIA MARRI
Karachi, April 18:“Pakistan has its best days ahead and nothing can stop us from succeeding.”, said Information and Power Minister, Shazia Marri. Marri said that the country was facing challenges today but the resolve to overcome these challenges was far stronger than the difficulties being faced. “We must value our freedoms and cherish the sacrifices made for us to live with our heads high. It is not the time to blame or curse, indeed it’s time to unite for our true identity, time to repose faith in our strengths and time to be disciplined to fight the enemies of our country.”, said an emotional Marri while speaking at event organized by the Saylani Welfare Trust here today.
Shazia Marri said that the democratic government was tackling all issues in an environment of participation and President Zardari had succeeded in creating such an environment. She said that the Pakistan Peoples Party had always respected political mandate of different parties which is why it never chose to victimise anyone, infact people like Nawaz Sharif who were highly inspired by tyrants like General Zia, only preferred victimising and torturing their opponents. Marri said that Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif were responsible for the damages caused due to the Afghan war, the drug and klashnikov culture and the destruction of our liberal socio-political fabric since they were the staunch supporters of General Zia Ul Haq. “We are tired of such two-faced individuals who first destroy us and then pretend to come for our rescue, Sharifs can fool no one.”, Marri stated emphatically. Appreciating the philanthropic activities of Saylani Welfare Trust, Shazia Marri expressed special gratitude for their tireless service during the catastrophic rains of last year. Marri said that Yousuf Lakhani and his team were the real heroes who battled with all difficulties in order to provide immediate relief to the flood affectees. “I cannot thank Mr. Yousuf Lakhani enough for what he and his organization did for the people of the district I hail from.”, said Shazia Marri. “The spirit of sacrifice and selfless service were the hallmarks of the Saylani Trust as I had witnessed myself in the wake of last year’s calamity when they and other welfare organizations extended every possible assistance in response to the appeal made by the Honourale President of Pakistan.”, stated Marri.
Talking about the energy crisis, Shazia Marri said that the future energy needs were a global concern but given that no progress in this sector was made during the 12 years before the current government, it was a greater challenge for Pakistan People’s Party and its allies. She further said that the present government had inducted over 3500 megawatts of electricity into the system but the increased demand was still to be met. Marri said that different options were being worked on for power generation including the most promising Thar Coal project which would generate 10 thousand megawatt by 2020. She criticised those who used this crisis as a tactic to avenge their thirst for popularity and urged upon the people at large to practise conservation of all forms of energy including gas in these crucial times of extreme shortage. She said apart from generation, it is also important for us to focus on conservation and value the importance of energy for a comfortable environment.
Information Minister criticized the statements against President Zardari and termed them “malicious propaganda for self publicity”. “The demand for a letter to some foreign court against our own President is not only unconstitutional but also unpatriotic since it’s damaging for our national integrity and this must be realized.”, she said.
Shazia Marri expressed deep sorrow over the Gayari tragedy and paid tribute to the valiant efforts of the Pakistani soldiers who were always prepared to lay their lives for the security of their nation. “I salute the great mothers who bear such sons and daughters and what words of consolation can I extend to such courageous parents who prepare their children to lay down their lives for their country.”, explained Marri. Welcoming Nawaz Sharif’s statement on the issue of Siachen and the need to re-visit the plan of deputing soldiers from both sides, Shazia Marri said that she wished Nawaz Sharif had realized this during his tenure too instead of exacerbating the tension in the Siachen region during his last term. “It’s much easier to preach than practice.”, Marri said while further commenting on Nawaz Sharif.
Shazia Marri said that President’s visit to Siachen had earlier been delayed due to the bad weather in Siachen but the soldiers at Gayari remained his utmost priority.
FORMER FEDERAL SECRETARY MAQSOOD AHMED SHAIKH PASSES AWAY
Karachi, April 18: Former Federal Secretary Maqsood Ahmed Shaikh passed away yester night at the age of 76 here in a local hospital. His Funeral Prayers were performed at Rehmania Mosque Tariq Road while he was buried in PECHS graveyard.
His left five sons and two daughters as mourners, among them there are Vice Chancellor Liaquat University of Health Sciences Jamshoro Dr. Noshed Shaikh, Additional Secretary Sindh Government Naveed Shaikh, G.M. (Construction) National High Authority Tufail Ahmed Shaikh and others. Provincial Health Minister Dr. Sagheer Ahmed, Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh on Special Education Imtiaz Shaikh, Former Vice Chancellor Mazhar-ul-Haq Siddiqui, D.G. Protocol Sindh Muhammad Iqbal Memon & other high officials of Provincial and Federal Governments, Journalists, and a large number of common citizens also attended his cortege.
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