Child Club members of Save the Children called for increasing the number of frontline health workers besides a sizeable hike in the health budget to contain the alarming death rates of children and mothers in Balochistan.
They were addressing at a press conference at Quetta Press Club here on Monday.
Save the Children has established over 100 Child Clubs comprising students of various schools with the purpose to highlight health and education issue for their amicable solutions.
“Child mortality rate is heights in Balochistan as compared with rest of four provinces,” they deplored adding Neonatal Mortality is 63 out of live 1000 births while 111 children out of 1000 could not make their fifth birth day.
They maintained that mother mortality ratio was too high in Balochistan with 785 mothers in 100000 die every year.
National Nutrition Survey depicts a grim picture of the nutrition status of women and children of Balochistan with prevalence of chronic malnutrition 52.2 % (compared to 44 % at national level) acute malnutrition among children as 16.1% which according to the WHO puts the province in a state of an emergency. Similarly, 10 out of 20 food insecure districts of the country are located in Balochistan.
The Government of Balochistan should allocate more resources for improving the child health and survival situation in the Province,” Child Club children stressed.
Stressing the need for strengthening routine immunization by increasing the number of vaccinators (at least two per UC), they suggested strong monitoring and accountability systems with a focus on the far flung and hard to reach areas and poor population.
They commended that incumbent government of Balochistan has regularized LHWs however; it should also make budgetary allocation for increasing the number of Lady Health Workers (LHWs) in the province so that 100% population is covered.
Though, it budget earmarked for education and health sectors was increased compared to previous regime’s budget, yet on account of scattered population and a province that shares vast swathe of land required more funds for the health sector.
Nadeem Shahid, Manager Advocacy and Campaign at Save the Children on the occasion deplored that despite endorsement made by the provincial government Multi-sectoral Nutrition Strategy was not launched. Besides, government may take positive headway in the formation of chairman of Heath Committees to process formation of the Infant Feeding Board for implementation of Balochistan Protection and Promotion of Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition Law 2014.
Press Release by Save the Children
Published in The Balochistan Point on November 14, 2014