Child mortality on the rise


A report based on the monitoring of 74 health facilities in as many districts across Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, May 8: Of the 74 districts monitored in February, five reported 189 incidents of child mortality as compared to the preceding month when 157 children died in seven districts. Also, 51 such deaths were recorded in seven districts in December, says a Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report.

Child mortality refers to children who died before attaining five years of age. While on average there were seven deaths per district in December and 22 in January, the month of February had on average 38 children dying before their 5th birthday.

Toba Tek Singh (112), Khushab (49) and Bahawalnagar (24) were the highest reporting districts of child mortality in the reporting month, said the report released Tuesday.

It said 91 cases of maternal mortality (mothers who died because of pregnancy and delivery-related complications) in 30 districts and 2,202 of infant mortality (infants who died before attaining 12 months of age) in 35 districts were also reported.

Moreover, of the observed diseases 2,125,616 cases were reported in 74 health facilities. Of these, 62% were cases of respiratory tract infections recorded in 73 districts. Faisalabad (140,784), Swat (103,452) and Bahawalpur (61,062) had the most cases of this infection.

Gastrointestinal infections followed with 15% of the total disease burden. Of the 313,371 cases of gastrointestinal infections, 85% were those of diarrhea and dysentery while 15% were of gastroenteritis. Faisalabad with 19,982 cases of diarrhea and dysentery was the top reporting district while for gastroenteritis it was Rahimyar Khan (19,375).

Cases of skin diseases constituted 11% of the total diseases reported. Sixty five districts recorded 224,349 cases of scabies — Faisalabad reporting the most cases (29,466), followed by Sialkot (11,704) and Bahawalpur (11,346).

Moreover, 10,863 cases of animal bites and 1,583 cases of tuberculosis were also recorded.

Out of 3,229 cases of viral diseases, 2,605 were of hepatitis reported in 34 districts. Malaria followed with 337 cases recorded in 12 districts.

In addition, 11 districts reported 207 cases of measles while there were 36 of meningitis reported in three districts. All 12 cases of probable poliomyelitis were in recorded in Malir whereas all 26 cases of suspected AIDS were in Sargodha.

Of the six reported tetanus cases, four were in Malir and one each in Dadu and Rajanpur.

The report said, nine of the 10 districts with the highest disease burden were in Punjab. Of the total disease burden, the most cases (9%) were reported in Faisalabad, followed by Bahawalpur (8%), Swat (6%), Rahimyar Khan (5%), Gujranwala and Sialkot (4% each) and Multan, Kasur, Lahore and Bahawalnagar (3% each).