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‘Impossible’ For Pakistan To Achieve Maternal, Infant MDGs, Doctors Say

Doctors at a seminar at Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) in Karachi, Pakistan, on Monday said that at the current rate, it will be impossible for Pakistan to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to child mortality and maternal health by 2015, the International News reports.

The maternal mortality rate is 276 deaths per 100,000 live births, while the infant mortality rate is 78 deaths per 1,000 births. Senior physicians said that a lack of maternal healthcare services and education, as well as poor performance by doctors at most public hospitals and basic health units show a lack of commitment from the government to achieve the targets, the International News writes.

Subhana Tayyab, chairperson of the Department of Gynaecology at DUHS, said the survey found that contraceptive prevalence in rural areas stood at 24 percent compared with 41 percent in urban areas between 2006 and 2007. According to the study, 65 percent of births in urban areas take place at home, 24 percent in private facilities and 11 percent in public hospitals.

Inkisar Ali, chairperson of the Department of Paediatrics at DUHS, said “every fifth child in the country (below the age of five years) dies either due to malnutrition or diseases like measles and polio,” adding that the overall routine immunization coverage decreased during the past few years after the government started focusing on the polio immunization program.

Pakistan Medical Association Secretary General Samrina Hashmi said statistics from the study related to maternal and child health project will be included in the medical curriculum at government medical colleges across the country. “It is essential that medical students are updated about such studies and are mindful of the health issues women are faced with, which will help them during their practice,” she said (6/30).