Good health and good sense are two of the greatest blessings but not everyone has the former one available at hand. Though health care is the basic right of every citizen but it seems it has only been left within the boundaries of being a privilege which only a few can reach and afford.
As years pass by, the most resourceful land in Pakistan keeps lagging behind the race of good nutrition amongst the total population of Pakistan. Balochistan covers about 44% of the area of Pakistan yet still the rates of malnutrition are alarming. According to UNICEF 16% of the children in Balochistan are malnourished, 52 percent are stunted and 39.6 percent are underweight and if it weren’t enough the maternal mortality rates are highest reaching up to 785 out of 100,000 in Balochistan while rest of the country has 272 per 100,000.
According to Pakistan Health Demographic Survey Balochistan stands first in terms of Maternal Mortality Rate as compared to other provinces of the country. The reason behind this isn’t mere the negligence of higher authorities to provide accurate medical care to the facilities deprived areas but the illiteracy and unawareness of the local people as well.
This state of melancholy has resulted in the alertness of the local people of these areas who tend to strive for their basic rights of life including Health and Right to Education. Gul Naz, a resident of Tehsil Sanjavi of District Ziarat told this scribe that how she and her family members struggled to bring their patient, apparently a baby, suffering from Birth Asphyxia (deprivation of oxygen during birth process) due to improper and unskilled delivery of the baby because of which he started having Seizures after a couple of days. She further said that at the beginning they though it was due to some nutritional deficiency so they started treating the baby with home remedies and homeopathic medicines but it was of no use and the baby’s condition started to worsen which made them to rush to Quetta. After a tiresome journey of a couple of hours she arrived at Bolan Medical College Complex Hospital with her Husband and sister in law for baby’s further treatment. She said “we have been deprived of our basic necessities of life. We have pleaded the authorities several times but it was of no use because in the end it all ends up in neglect and ignorance. It is very hard for us to visit hospitals in Quetta each time as we also run out of money and lack awareness too. It gets very hard at times.”
Without proper healthcare assets such as medical staff, clinics, pharmacies, collaborative technologies etc. the older, unskilled and traditional methods of treatment are being used by the attendants which prove to be a major cause in the diminishing health system in side areas. Medical treatment these days does cost an arm and a leg and for people with insignificant wage who already are living hand to mouth, it even gets harder as the expenses end up getting out of their hands but there are alternatives which one can look up to through the help of medical professionals.
According to Balochistan Maternal and Child health Policy, the application of birth spacing will prevent 41% maternal, 35% infant and 74% young child deaths. The authorities shouldn’t turn a blind eye on the prevailing health issues in Balochistan and they should devise a plan to introduce new programs and schemes which tend to educate both women and their families thus providing pictorial booklets and specially designed education material on family planning and safe motherhood. Women should be made aware of their prenatal and postnatal dietary intake of required supplements like Iron and Multivitamins along with required food intake.
Other than this, traditional birth attendants should be trained in clean delivery and they should be made aware of the obstetric and newborn complications. Furthermore, emergency transport systems should be set up and working. Campaigns and Medical Camps might also help in improving the health standard. Though this idea might seem like the thin edge of the wedge at the moment but by putting our resources and hard work in the right place we might end up with something great!
The writer is a student of BMC and Vice President of Markhor Youth Forum
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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