Millennium Development Goal 5 aims to improve maternal health by 2015, by reducing by three quarters the high incidence of maternal deaths and also providing universal access to reproductive health. With only four years remaining Pakistan will have to work really hard, with multi-faceted efforts, to achieve that goal.
An action research project (by Shirkat Gah) substantiated several findings: Pakistan is lagging behind several other countries in the region and is unlikely to achieve MDG 5 by 2015. Investments and interventions made in the area have not had the desired impact on the lives of ordinary Pakistani women.
Over 60 per cent of Pakistan’s population is below age 30; numerous women and girls are at the child-bearing age. At this stage, the consequences of not adopting corrective measures will lead to a population explosion, with increased illness and death of new-borns and mothers, the reinforcing of gender inequities, and a negative impact on economic growth.
The research has clearly shown that maternal health is not only a medical problem; it is also a socio-economic one, deeply related to women’s status in society. The paucity of formal services has forced women to turn to harmful practices and informal and inadequate social support networks. Often these practices perpetuate inequalities or skewed power dynamics of caste, socio-economic class, feudal hierarchies and gender. Only a cross-sectoral approach can address these problems in a meaningful fashion. H.S
(Information: Courtesy Shirkat Gah)