Publication: Pakistan News Release
Web links: http://www.pakistannewsreleases.com/pakistan-highest-infant-mortality-rate-world-iqbal-detho/
Shikarpur, September 29, 2014 (PPI-OT): Shikarpur faces a health emergency-like situation where more than half of the children are malnourished and suffering from illness while poor water and sanitation facilities and lack of vaccination cover is putting lives of children in danger.
Pakistan has highest number of first day child deaths in the world and Sindh tops with 3 percent more infant mortality rate than other provinces – breastfeeding not increased even 1 per cent in the last five years while malnutrition is affecting half of mothers and children amongst Pakistani population. Said, Iqbal Detho, Provincial Manager, Save the Children.
At Shikarpur press club a media briefing was conducted by save the children in collaboration with Mishal Pakistan where participants urged the media to highlight the situation in Shikapur so that the policy makers shift their focus to important issues like health and education.
More than half of the Shikarpur District children were found to be suffering from illness in a survey released in December last year. The enactment of the Sindh Protection and Promotion of Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition Act 2013 and the adoption of Sindh Inter-sectoral Nutrition Strategy by the Government of Sindh are landmark steps but effective implementation of the laws and strategies is yet to be seen.
A highly inadequate budget for nutrition and child health programs is warranting an immediate consideration of the lawmakers to readjust their priorities. Mubashir Zaidi, lead trainer of AGAHI said that Pakistan is certain to miss targets of Millennium Development goals No 4 and 5 which relates to child and mother mortality in 2015. The targets have now been included in Vision 2025 by the Government of Pakistan, which were supposed to be achieved by 2015.
But as it is said that it is never too late – the media, civil society and health organizations can join hands and create a pressure on policy makers to get their priorities right and focus on child health issues. Breastfeeding stands at a record low of 37.7 per cent in Pakistan while bottle feeding has increased to over 42 per cent showing a sharp rise of over 11 per cent in the past five years as compared to breastfeeding which has registered an increase of .6 per cent in the last five years.
Speaking on the occasion, Ayaz Sanjrani, President, Shikarpur press club said that increasing poverty is adding to the problems of the residents of Shikarpur District where 62 per cent of people are living under poverty line. Less than forty per cent of Shikarpur people do not have access to toilet while more than 85 per cent of people do not use soaps.