Rise in Cases of Infant Mortality

ISLAMABAD, March 30 2012: Cases of infant mortality registered an increase in December last year as compared to the preceding month – an average of 56 deaths per district out of those monitored and reporting such cases – occurring in December and 51 in November, says a Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report.

Infant mortality in this report refers to children who did not live to see their first birthday. The most cases were reported in Sahiwal (225), followed by Gujrat (157) and Faisalabad (136). The report, released Friday, is based on reported cases of diseases at government health offices in 79 districts. Of the monitored districts, 36 reported cases of infant mortality.

It said that 51 children died before attaining the age of five years in seven districts while 124 mothers died due to pregnancy and delivery-related complications in 31 of the monitored districts. According to the report, there were 2,199,222 cases of the observed diseases that were reported.

Among viral diseases, hepatitis was the most reported with 2,803 cases of which 619 were recorded in Gujrat, another 551 in Gujranwala and 321 in Bahawalpur. On the polio front, three new cases emerged – one each in Karachi Central, Dera Ghazi Khan and Vehari while there were 27 cases of probable poliomyelitis – all being reported in Karachi Central.  Also reported were 19 suspected cases of AIDS – 11 of them in Sargodha, seven in Gujrat and one in Gujranwala, the report said. On the other hand, 1,774 cases of malaria were reported – Hafizabad topping the list with 499 cases, followed by Khyber Agency (362) and Killa Saifullah (233). However, no case of dengue surfaced during the reporting month. There were 111 cases of measles, tetanus (22) and meningitis (13).

Acute respiratory tract infections were the most commonly reported set of diseases constituting 53% of the total disease burden. Faisalabad (144,425), Gujranwala (59,517) and Bahawalpur (53,268) were the top three districts reporting such infections. Fourteen percent of the total diseases comprised gastrointestinal infections and 12% of skin diseases. Moreover, there were 10,343 cases of animal bites and 1,635 of tuberculosis.

Eight out of 10 districts that reported the most cases of observed diseases were in Punjab and the other two in Sindh. Unlike last month, when Bahawalpur reported the highest disease burden, December saw Faisalabad recording the most cases (9%), followed by Bahawalpur (8%) and Gujrat (7%).

*FAFEN governance monitors visited 79 health offices across Pakistan. Of these, 28 offices of Executive District Officer/Health were visited in Punjab, 18 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 17 in Sindh and 13 in Balochistan. Moreover, offices of the Agency Surgeon Health (ASH) in FATA and Health Management Information System (HMIS) in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) were also visited.