LAHORE – Cases of infant mortality continued to grow in January as compared to the previous months with an average, 65 children per district dying before their first birthday as compared to 56 in December and 51 in November 2011.

Of the 34 districts that registered 2,212 cases of infant mortality, Gujrat (221), Sahiwal (206) and Sargodha (122) reported the most cases. These statistics form part of a Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report released recently.

The report, based on monitoring of 74 health offices across Pakistan said that there were also 120 cases of maternal mortality (mothers who died due to pregnancy and delivery-related complications) and 157 of child mortality (children who died before attaining the age of five years) reported. FAFEN governance monitors visited 30 offices of Executive District Officers/Health (EDO/Health) in Punjab, 17 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 14 in Sindh and 11 in Balochistan. Moreover, one office of Agency Surgeon Health (ASH) was visited in Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) as well as an office of Health Management Information System (HMIS) Islamabad Capital Territory.

 Monitoring of 74 districts revealed 2,191,659 cases of observed diseases in January. Of these, Respiratory Tract Infections (RTIs) were the most reported – 57 percent of the total. Faisalabad reported the most cases of RTIs (162,886), followed by Bahawalpur (61,321) and Gujranwala (56,850).

Gastrointestinal infections constituted 13 percent of the total disease burden. Of the 279,266 cases of this disease, 90 percent were of diarrhoea and dysentery and 10 percent of gastroenteritis.

Among skin diseases, there were as many as 229,408 cases of scabies reported in 66 districts, with Faisalabad having the most cases followed by Kasur and Sialkot. Similarly, out of 9,888 cases of animal bites, 212 were snake bites with signs of poisoning and 9,676 of dog bites. The report said 21 districts reported 991 cases of tuberculosis, Gujranwala topping the list with 246, followed by Bannu (119) and Bahawalpur (108). Of the 4,017 cases of diseases caused by virus, 71% were hepatitis. Gujranwala (579), Bahawalpur (556) and Gujrat (526) were the highest reporting districts. Hepatitis was followed by Malaria with 872 cases reported in 15 districts and Measles with 238 cases in 12 districts.

Eighteen cases of Meningitis, nine each in Gujrat and Killa Abdullah were also reported. On the other hand all the 17 cases of suspected AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) were reported in Sargodha.

There were 16 cases of probable poliomyelitis of which 15 were in Karachi Central and one in Gujrat. Furthermore, eight cases of tetanus were reported in the observed month and one of dengue.