Karachi (14.12.22): Minister for Health and Population Welfare, Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho attended as chief guest the launch and MoU signing for the Pathfinder programme to Building Healthier Families. Also in attendance were USAID Mission Director to Pakistan, Mr. Reed Aeschliman, Director Pathfinder, Ms. Shazina Masud, Parliamentary Secretary of Health, Mr. Qasim Siraj Soomro, Director of Population Welfare Department, and representatives from the Gates Foundation. It was noted that for the programme there will be pinpoint areas where support is needed, which aside from medical will also include psychosocial support. The project will enable the strengthening of health systems in order to face the calamities that may be inevitable because of climate change. The programme will reach 60% of districts (35 quality, rights– 40) in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) with high-based, gender-transformative FP/MNCH services. It will increase the resiliency of communities and health systems in the face of accelerating climate change–The programme will strengthen the capacity of local institutions and stakeholders to lead customization, scale and institutionalization of FP/MNCH high evidence •based interventions (EBIs)impact practices (HIPs) and Support government and private sector partners to operationalize a hybrid market development and health systems strengthening (HSS) approach. This programme seeks to support health finance in light of the catastrophic climate change adversities that Pakistan has endured this year. Any such disaster is hardship multiplied towards reproductive health and results in increasing food and water insecurity, which disproportionately harms women and children. These efforts of the programme for Building Healthy Families over the five years will result in 4,181,551 facility-based deliveries.
Full immunization of 4,683,921 children aged 12 – 35 months provision of 3,918,911 couple years protection from unintended pregnancy• Directly contributing to 430,311 Unsafe abortions averted839 maternal deaths averted17,337 child deaths averted. The project aims to work closely with the government to provide support to flood-hit areas of the province and provide family planning services to vulnerable women and children. It is also an opportunity to develop locally informed solutions through enhanced public and private partnerships to elevate and increase coverage for health services. This programme further encourages the bilateral relationship between America and Pakistan to progress beyond the programmes. Mr. Reed Aeschliman added his thanks to Minister Health for her leadership in MNCH services in Sindh. He said that he will look forward to stronger collaborations so that the health system is better able to absorb the shocks that will arise due to the climate crisis. Minister Health Sindh, Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho said in light of the climate change crisis that the aid was still unable to reach every person in need, as this disaster has been on a scale that has never been seen before. She said that we will continue to suffer and I don’t see the efforts being made internationally to rehabilitate all of what has been lost, for millions being deprived of every single thing.Dr Azra Pechuho added that the survivors’ resilience and efforts are remarkable but we still need to be there for them and that is what this programme is about. The food insecurity is likely to increase, she said, adding that the yield for wheat will be low, as the winters are not set in any of the districts and the quality of the soil was contaminated because of the flood water so the quality of the food will also not be up to par. Provincial Health Minister warned that this will further impact the health of our children and we will see an increase in stunting and malnutrition and cognitive functions due to food insecurity. Dr. Azra Pechuho said that effective development and refurbishment of our facilities are needed. Preventive healthcare and family planning are crucial and will benefit us at this moment. She appreciated that gender norms will be addressed in this project and suggested that since there are several other programmes focusing on MNCH it would be most beneficial and efficient to integrate all the different projects under one network. The programme will be implemented
initially in Kashmore Ghotki Shaheed Dadu Khairpur Benazirabad Hyderabad Mirpurkhas Tando Allahyar Tando Muhammad Khan and Jamshoro.