January 23, 2014
Maternal and Child Health in Pakistan is Improving
The Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS) 2012-13 was released today at a ceremony in Islamabad that was attended by Professor Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Saira Afzal Tarar, State Minister for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, and Richard G. Olson, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan. The PDHS 2012-13 was jointly implemented by the Government of Pakistan’s Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination and the United States Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Data for this survey was collected from a nationally representative sample of nearly 13,000 households, and more than 15,000 women and 3,000 men between the ages of 15 and 49 years were interviewed.
Maternal Health Care Improves
On a positive note, more pregnant women are receiving antenatal care, postnatal visits and improved delivery services from skilled providers . Almost three-quarters of the women surveyed for the 2012-13 PDHS received antenatal care from a skilled provider (doctor, nurse, midwife, or lady health visitor) compared to 61% in the 2006-07 PDHS. Nearly half of the births occurred in health facilities; an increase from one-third in 2006-07.
Childhood Mortality Rates Decrease
Survey findings show a 16% decrease in under-five mortality since 2006-07. Currently, under-five mortality is 89 deaths per 1,000 live births. At this mortality level, one in every 11 Pakistani children dies before their fifth birthday resulting in over 1,100 deaths per day.
More than Half of Children Fully Immunized
Vaccination coverage has gradually increased in Pakistan from 47% in 2006-07 to 54% in 2012-13. Regional data highlights areas of serious concern with only 16% of children in Balochistan being fully immunized compared to 74% of those in Islamabad. Alarmingly, Sindh’s immunization rate has decreased from 35% in 2006-07 to 29% in 2012-13.
Survey Collects Data on Gender-Based Violence for the First Time
For the first time in Pakistan, the 2012-13 PDHS collected information on gender-based violence. Results indicate that one-third of Pakistani women over age 15 years have experienced some degree of physical violence. Twenty percent of those surveyed experienced physical violence in the past year with the most common perpetrator being their current husband.
Despite some improvements, Pakistan is not on track to achieve its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 for maternal and child health. The 2012-13 PDHS clearly highlights the need for Pakistan to prioritize health and family planning and for all stakeholders, including the federal and provincial governments, civil society, international and local NGOs, and health practitioners; to increase their efforts to ensure all Pakistani’s have access to quality health services.
Additional information about the 2012-13 PDHS may be obtained from the National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS), Block 12-A, Capital Centre, G-8 Markaz, P.O. Box 2197, Islamabad, Pakistan (telephone: 92-51-926-2790 or 926-2756; Fax: 92-51-926-2754; Internet: http://www.nips.org.pk
To read more about United States assistance to Pakistan for meeting health challenges please visit: 1.usa.gov/1duY9Mu