Progress report

Pakistan failing new moms and babies

REUTERS/Insiya Syed

 

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will deliver a report next week about the Millennium Development Goals, a series of global indicators centered around addressing extreme poverty and hunger, education, maternal and child health, gender equality, sustainable development, and environmental conservation. While several countries, including some in the developing world, have achieved the goals outlined by the U.N. or come close, Pakistan is far away from having met any of its goals. In particular, Pakistan is failing in the crucial area of maternal health. Women who live in rural, remote areas are still dependent on unskilled midwives due to tradition and a general lack of trust in medical facilities. Even the closest community health centers are often times ill-equipped for antenatal visits and delivery; in some cases, they do not own an ultrasound machine, have an operating theater, or an ambulance for emergencies. For this reason, Pakistani women suffer severe pregnancy complications often resulting in devastating miscarriages. Pakistan is considered the second-worst country in South Asia to be a mother. If adequate medical care to new mothers was made a priority, fewer lives of mothers and babies will be lost there.

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