Sixty percent of the world’s 5.9 million children died before their fifth birthday last year, belonged to countries in Asia and Africa. Pakistan tops the list in child mortality rate among other South Asian countries. The leading cause for this is complications due to premature birth, pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and malnutrition. Pakistan is the seventh country in the world where 90,000 children die at 5 years to pneumonia annually. Even though a vaccination for pneumonia is available for all children in the country but people are not aware of its importance and access to hospitals is not easy for every child. According to UNICEF and WHO, out of 10, less than two mothers are engaged in early breast-feeding in Pakistan and this is one of the lowest rates of breast-feeding in the world.

The researcher recommended breast-feeding vaccines for pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea as well as improving water and sanitation to help with children’s survival. Family planning, better nutrition and treatment of childhood illnesses are important factors contributing to improving conditions. Another very important measure to ensure is trained and equipped health workers attend every birth. Pharmaceutical companies can do more by increasing the availability of products for underprivileged new mothers.

Media and government have to work together to provide knowledge to the people, especially people at far-flung areas which need to be informed with this the most.

KIRAN FATIMA, Islamabad, September 8.