RAWALPINDI, Oct 3: The Punjab government on Monday launched a project to provide health care facilities to the mothers and newborns and help reduce the infant mortality rate in the district.
Entitled “Pakistan Initiative for Mothers and Newborns” (Paiman), the programme was launched in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a US- based public health organization John Snow International (JSI) and some other institutions.
The main purpose of the programme is creation of awareness of maternal and neonatal health care, community involvement in the mother and child health services and management and integration of health services at all levels.
Punjab Secretary for Population Welfare Qazi Afaq Hussain inaugurated the project and expressed the hope that it would minimise the infant mortality rate by improving primary health care facilities.
Dr Umar, the provincial coordinator of Paiman, highlighted the salient features of the new initiative. He said the five-year programme had been launched in 10 districts including four in the Punjab. He said Rawalpindi had been selected as a model district to launch the project.
Speaking on the occasion, the USAID health officer, Mary Skarie, said the United States was providing over $1.5 billion in development assistance to Pakistan over the next five years to improve health, education, economic growth and governance. The JSI vice-president, Dr Theo Lippeveld, said the prime objective of the project was to provide health care facilities on the doorstep of the masses.
The operation officer of the WHO Punjab, Ch Asmatullah, and the Unicef Punjab Programme Officer Dr Tahir Manzoor termed Paiman a big breakthrough in the health sector.
District Coordination Officer (DCO) Hamid Ali Khan said Rawalpindi was ideal for the implementation of the programme. He said Rs3.5 million had been allocated for upgrading health facilities in the district.
Executive District Officer (health) Abid Hussain Shah said Paiman was a unique programme of its kind that will be implemented in letter and spirit.