PESHAWAR: Two human resource development reports, launched by Awaz, a consortium of four rights organisations, have called for giving priority to health and education sectors as both need improvement for the wellbeing of the citizens.

“This initiative is first of its kind in the country whereas national level human development reports are routinely published by UNDP which provide ranking of various districts but no reports at district level are available,” said Arshad Haroon while sharing the two reports on Swabi and Dera Ismail Khan districts at a function held here on Thursday. 

Human rights and human development share a common vision and a common purpose to secure the freedom, well-being and dignity of all people everywhere. Keeping in view the state of Millennium Development Goals MDGs and Pakistan’s ranking on Human Development Index, Awaz produced research-based human development reports of four districts.

Two of the reports about Swabi and Dera Ismail Khan were shared with the gathering, said Mr Haroon, the regional head of Strengthening Participatory Organisation.

The component organisations of Awaz include Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO), Aurat Foundation (AF), South Asia Partnership (SAP)-PK, and Sungi Development Foundation (SDF). 

The reports capture the current state of a range of human development indicators in the selected districts. The participants hailing from different districts vent out their feelings about health and education facilities at their respective districts.

Social workers including women and youth expressed their dissatisfaction with health and education facilities at district level and the two officials of the departments concerned could not say much to answer them.

Idrees Azam, chief planning officer of the education department, gave a long list of construction of some 100 schools to absorb children studying in rented buildings.

He also talked of plans to start second shift in some 300 schools with the help of NGOs in Nowshera district and reconstruction of schools damaged or affected by calamities but participants of the gathering asked questions regarding basic facilities like latrines, classroom and presence of teachers in the schools.

Similarly voices were raised against lack of medicines and availability of doctors at basic health units and district headquarters hospitals.

The human development reports about Swabi and Dera Ismail Khan also highlighted problems like low enrollment rate, missing facilities, poor quality of teaching and a large number of out of schools children as telling signs of misplaced priorities and deepening exclusion by the government.

The reports said that infant and maternal mortality rate, reproductive health indicators, life expectancy and immunisation against diseases also reflected how the state viewed the wellbeing of the citizens.

MPA Jaffar Shah said government needed to look at the missing education and health facilities. He said that budget for education and health should be increased.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2015