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Pakistan: Policy Dialogue on "Monitoring Implementation of MDG5 in Pakistan"
Thursday, 21st June 2012, Shirkat Gah – Women’s Resource Centre organized a Punjab provincial Policy Dialogue on Monitoring Implementation of Millennium Development Goal 5 in Pakistan. The event was attended by Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, Advisor to Chief Minister on Women Development; MPA Rai Aslam Khan Kharal, Chairman Standing Committee on Population; Dr. Nisar Ahmed Cheema, Director General Health; Dr. Akhter Rasheed, Provincial Coordinator Lady Health Worker Programme; Dr. Zafar Ikram, Provincial Coordinator MNCH; Qaiser Rasheed, Deputy Secretary School Education; Dr. Attiya Maroof, Additional Secretary (Technical) PWD; Uzma Hafeez, Assistant Chief Planning and Development (Health); Ms. Nabeela Malick, Director Advocacy(FPAP); and Khawar Mumtaz, CEO of Shirkat Gah. The event was held to review implementation of MDG5 to improve maternal health whereby the government pledges to reduce maternal mortality by three quarters by 2015, and to achieve universal access to reproductive health.
Zakia Shahnawaz stressed on the significance of women’s education and economic empowerment. She further added that Punjab Government is committed to provide better health services to reduce maternal and child mortality.
Dr. Nisar Ahmed Cheema submitted a set of recommendations which were approved by the CM; to deliver 100% free health services for pregnant women all over Punjab, to give free transportation to reach health facilities and to provide free health facilities in children’s wards were a few of them.
Dr. Akhtar Rashid said the government has planned to create linkages between doctors and Community Midwives/LHW to strengthen the quality of health services for women. Furthermore, Punjab government has piloted its e-moniatoring system to track the proper implementation of its programme.
Dr. Zafar Ikram described the salient features of MNCH programme which focuses on the poor and marginalized sector of the society. He also underlined the interdependence of MDG4 and MDG5.
Qaiser Rasheed endorsed the recommendations provided by Shirkat Gah in the policy brief. These include institutionalization of school health systems with reproductive health provisions and nutritional information, making life skills based education a part of the educational curriculum and increasing the number functioning secondary schools to ensure accessibility of schools to girls.
Dr. Attiya Maroof reported that Punjab Welfare Department is taking initiative to draft Punjab Population Policy as per the 18th Amendment. She encouraged input from all stakeholders. Nabeela Malick highlighted some gaps in the Child Restraint Act 1929; implementation and discrimination to name a few. Her presentation emphasized on the link between early age marriage and maternal mortality.
Khawar Mumtaz, CEO Shirkat Gah presented the findings of Shirkat Gah's study in depth research on the progress achieved so far under MDG5, delineating barriers faced by women in accessing information and services related to sexual and reproductive health and the gaps in implementation found in Punjab. The research focused on women’s access to family planning and reproductive health services, the link between unsafe abortion and maternal health, reproductive health needs of adolescent girls, impact of secondary education in improving reproductive health options, and government initiatives pertaining to MDG 5 currently underway. This research was made possible through the generous support of the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.