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Women's Health Care in Pakistan

Posted by Mirza Usman Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pakistan has poor health as well as sanitation infrastructure. This is especially true in the rural regions of the country. About 19% of the Paki population is malnourished as against the 17% average maintained for developing countries. Astoundingly, 30% of the child population under the age of 5 is malnourished! Some of the leading causes of diseases and death are gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, tuberculosis, congenital abnormalities, malaria, and typhoid fever. According to the United Nations estimates AIDS will be the single major health concern, could soon take the shape of an epidemic. As of 2003, there were just 68 doctors for every 100,000 Pakistanis. By 2002, the country had 12,501 health institutions including 4,590 dispensaries, 906 hospitals and a total count of 80,665 hospital beds. The rural regions had only 550 health centers with a total count of 8,840 beds.

However, that being said it is heartening to see that the Pakistani government is committed to the cause of having a healthier and well-looked after population. This is specially evidenced by the new health, nutrition, and population guidelines issued by the government's National Health Policy Guidelines till 2010. One of the redeeming aspects of this promising initiative is the introduction of a lady health worker (LHW). A community-based service, this program aims to give health related information, basic health care tips, and family planning guidance to women in Pakistan. Currently, there are 3,000 women serving as LHWs in their communities.

While there have been many health-related plans being implemented by the government, one health issue that is still a major cause of concern for women of Pakistan is the high neonatal and maternal mortality rates. Developed countries have been successful in reducing the number of deaths of pregnant women by educating and training the nurses-midwives, some developing nations have been unable to do so. Though the exact maternal and neonatal mortality rates of women in Pakistan are unavailable, it is generally believed that the rate could be around 30-50% (or higher).

If the factors that contribute to this high mortality rate could be controlled, a reduction in the neonatal death rate is likely to come down significantly. Using capable and trained nurses or midwives for deliveries and other women health related issues throughout Pakistan, would be greatly instrumental in a lower mortality rate and better health of the country's women as well as child population.

Neonatal and maternal health issues are wide spread and complicated due to frequent child births. Shocking as it may seem, but one out of every 38 women dies during child birth. The infant mortality rate is no better and stands at 101 deaths per 1,000 kids, while for those aged below 5 have higher mortality rate with 140 deaths per 1,000 births. These numbers far exceed the averages for developing countries by 60% and 36% respectively.

Though more and more men and women in Pakistan are using contraceptives, the rate of fertility still remains high and there is an average of 5.3 births per woman with population growth rate much higher than anywhere else in South Asia.

But perhaps more plaguing than these diseases are the multiple issues of society that considers women as low.

More information about women health please visit this website: http://manandwomenhealth.blogspot.com/


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