IT systems geared up during COVID-19 to help future uplift of health sector: President

ISLAMABAD, Dec 10 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Thursday said that the information technology systems geared up during the COVID-19 pandemic would help a long way to uplift the health sector in future.

Addressing a webinar on Pakistan Maternal Mortality Survey, the president said the efficiency achieved in IT sector by Pakistan during the pandemic could otherwise have taken 10 years to reach the point.

He said the IT would help promote the mechanisms like telehealth system and improve communication between the people and government particularly for awareness on prevention of disease through the measures like frequent hand wash.

He said as the prime minister had long been working in health sector since establishment of Shaukat Khanum Hospital, availability of better healthcare for people always remained his main concern.

Even, he said in his maiden speech after becoming prime minister, Imran Khan raised the issue of children’s stunted growth which could be better addressed through two-year breastfeeding and gap between pregnancies.

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He said considering the growing size of country’s population, it was essential to take care of children’s nutrition and maternal health.

The president said through the Holy book of Qur’an, Allah had also instructed for at least 24-months of breastfeeding which would address both the issues of stunted growth and maternal health.

He said he had also asked the companies manufacturing formula milk to market their products in a way to make it clear that it was never an alternate to the breastfeeding.

The president, who also chaired a task force on population, repeatedly called for gap between pregnancies for recovery of mother’s health and avert malnutrition in the children.

He also mentioned his frequent interaction with religious scholars to promote breastfeeding and guide the people that gap between pregnancies was essential to protect mothers from various health complications.

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He said it was pleasing that the maternal mortality rate had come down to 186 per 1000 births from 276 per 1000 as recorded in 2006 survey. He however emphasized that the country must achieve the target of 70 under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) by 2030.

He said the government firmly believed that health situation of the populace would have to be improved for poverty alleviation.

He said having a huge network of lady health workers, Pakistan could use the medium to educate the families and promote breastfeeding to avert stunted growth.

The president believed that 90 percent of the oral and dental diseases were preventable, therefore the core focus should be on prevention which could also avert burden on health system.