95-98% of postpartum women do not want another child: Speakers

KARACHI: To discuss the condition of maternal, neonatal health and the advantages of Postpartum Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (PPIUCD), a Dissemination seminar was organised by the National Committee for Maternal Health and Neonatal Health, which discussed the issue of mother and child health.

PPIUCD is a global initiative and a low cost intervention that allows health spacing between pregnancies, and thereby contributing to the reduction of maternal and infant mortality. The speakers told the audience that the method is highly effective and low cost, and does not interfere with the breast feeding.

The speakers argued that around 95-98% of postpartum women do not want another child before two years and yet only 40% are practicing the methods of family planning. Known as Pakistan’s grandmother of midwifery, Imtiaz Kamal said mid wives should be well trained and capable to play their role, because it is because of them the health of mother and the child can be at stake.

MPA and a member of standing committee on Health, Mahtab Akbar Rashdi said the government of Sindh must frame some developed policies on health. “NGO’s cannot do the work provincial or federal government can do,” she pointed out, asking the lawmakers to discuss the issues of maternal and child care in the assemblies. Giving an overview of the maternal health scenario in the province, Rashdi said even in a city like Karachi it is hard to find gynaecologists. She felt sorry on the lack of facilities for the newly mothers and children’s in the interior Sindh.

She stressed that it’s high time; the mid wives around the province should be given well training in the field. Replying to a question, Rashdi accepted the flaws in the system of the provincial government and said the government, still, is not capable of providing clean drinking water and education facilities to the people of rural areas, and the matter of health comes after these two.

“As a nation, we have many issues to talk about, like food, education and health comes after them,” said Rashdi. Another speaker and the provincial program coordinator for maternal and neonatal program, government of Pakistan, Dr. Sahib Jan Bader, who has also worked with the WHO and the UNICEF was of the view that a training like that of a house job should be started under the government supervision. She also announced that the provincial government is working on a policy related to mother and child health and the policy would be disclosed by the government in the month of December.

Faculty member at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Dr. Haleema Yasmeen called for the need of development work to be done at the JPMC. Another panellist, Dr. Sabiha Khursheed, who has served as the only DG health to the provincial government of Punjab as the only DG health in the history of Pakistan, said the nurses working with the military staff are well trained and well equipped. “Nurses at the government hospitals should be given training equal to that of military nurses.”

DG health Sindh, Dr. Hasan Murad Shah, speaking at the seminar, said the provincial government is running a program of lady health workers, and a nutrition program with the support of the World Health Organization. Describing the condition of health facilities, Shah said the government of Sindh has failed to achieve the health targets set by the UN.

“We are a country which is now compared with Nigeria, Afghanistan and African countries,” said Shah. He added that a program is under consideration under which 100 lady heath workers will be trained from the Tharparkar district. Giving further details, he said under the program, it is under consideration that the allowances and incentives of gynaecology staff members will be increased, and the government will make sure that all the medicines and injections related to mother and child care are available at the hospitals. He urged that the topic of family planning should be taken seriously now, because the population of Pakistan is expected to be double in the next 15 years.

Another panellist and speaker, Dr. Azra Ahsan, while briefing about the challenges faced by the staff working with the mothers, said the basic problem is that the women do not return for their follow up checkups. “Only 31% women return to their doctors for future advice,”

Citing other factors, she said the documentation of services provided is not properly maintained which makes it hard for the mid wives to conduct their follow up check-up, and the family pressure for more children, particularly sons are the factors which disturbs the health of the mother and child.

Professor Sadiqua N. Jafary presented introductory remarks, Dr. Aleya Ali talked about PPIUCD: Intervention and Results (NCMNH), Dr. Azmat Waseem described role of PWD in promoting postpartum family planning. Dr. Yasmeen Zia from Sindh Govt. Hospital Korangi, Dr. Sher Shah Syed from Koohi Goth Hospital, Dr. Amina Khan and Dr. Farhana Shahid also express their views about the family planning problems and challenges.

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