Health minister claims infants’ death ratio drops in Tharparkar

KARACHI: Sindh Health Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar on Monday said the provincial health department had decided to celebrate April as the Health Sindh Month by organising a three-day Sindh Health & Nutrition Festival in Mithi from 8th April 2015.

Addressing a press conference at the Committee Room of Health Department Sindh Secretariat, the health minister said the aim of organizing the festival is to create awareness and educate local population about the three basic themes – nutrition, family planning and immunization or vaccination. Special Secretary Public Health Sindh Dr Khalid Shaikh and Special Initiative Dr Ahsanullah Khan Wazeer were also present.

He said the festival will be inaugurated by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah in Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Cultural Complex at Mithi. The health minister claimed that death ratio in infants dropped in Thar during last few months due to government’s positive initiatives. The festival will continue till April 10th 2015.

Dahar said overall situation have been improving in district Tharparkar due to the efforts of health authorities and development partners. He said major issue remains to be the lack of awareness among the local populace about the importance of nutrition, health and family planning issues.

He said health department and many other governmental and non-governmental agencies and stakeholders have been making all out efforts to address the situation arising from the drought-stricken region.

He said, “We will celebrate whole month to create awareness among public and improve health facilities at union council level.” He said diseases like hepatitis, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and others should be prevented through raising public awareness.

While responding to a question, Dahar said his department will make Sindh polio-free this year and claimed infant mortality rate had decreased in Thar and other districts of Sindh as compared to Punjab districts.

Secretary Health Iftikhar Shalwani said all preparations have been finalized to organize a mega event in Thar in collaboration with stakeholders to soften the positive image of district in the country.

He said festival is also aimed at highlighting the current situation prevailing along with suggested solutions through health and nutrition stalls. This will mobilize and motivate internal health workforce and stakeholders. He said the health department will set up health nutrition stalls and special medical camps where paediatricians, gynaecologists, ophthalmologists, general physicians, general surgeons, and consultants will provide free consultation. The patients will be provided free medicine and laboratory testing facilities.

He said there will be parallel health awareness sessions with practical demonstrations to educate local masses about mother and child health, nutrition, family planning, immunization and other health issues in different halls of this complex.

Beside this puppet shows, kids play area, food courts, handicrafts of Tharparkar and other areas of Sindh will be put on display during the festival. The Thar cultural night presenting local and regional artists, skids, tableaus and marvi story will be held on the evening of 9th April. All expenses of this festival are beard by stakeholders and donors, Shalwani concluded.

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