Health

Ensuring every child gets the opportunity to experience a healthy life

A baby girl is about to receive a measles injection
UNICEF/PAKISTAN/Asad Zaidi

Challenges

Millions of young lives could be saved every year if mothers and babies had access to affordable, quality health care, good nutrition, and clean water. In Pakistan, however, these necessities are out of reach for mothers and babies who need them most.

These deaths result from poor access to immunisation and low quality maternal and newborn care services. 75% of newborn deaths are caused by three preventable and treatable conditions – complications due to premature birth, complications during labour and delivery, and infections such as sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia.

For every 1000 babies that are born, 42 die as newborns and 62 as infants.

There is limited access to life-saving interventions which is further complicated by huge disparities between provinces, income levels, rural/urban locations and level of education, particularly of mothers. New-born girls and boys are dying of conditions that could be managed within households and other conditions that require professional care in health facilities. Newborn survival is further complicated by other poorly performing cross-sectoral family care practices and interventions, including adequate breastfeeding, hygiene and sanitation.

Each year about 91,000 children in the country die from pneumonia and 53,300 from diarrhoea.

The good news is, we know what works to save children’s lives. 25 percent of child deaths can be prevented with vaccinations and many more can be saved through quality maternal and newborn health care. Routine immunisation coverage in Pakistan has improved since 2012-13 from 54% to 66% in 2017-18 but there is still a long way to go.

UNICEF supports the government through its technical expertise and multi-sectoral work in Pakistan. Through our work, we help the most disadvantaged mothers, newborns and children to benefit from integrated health interventions and adoption of better healthcare practices/behaviours to help the children survive and thrive.

A lady health worker holds a newborn baby
UNICEF/PAKISTAN/Asad Zaidi
Angela a lady health worker using UNICEF newborn kit for a child who born in UNICEF supported health center in a Jalozai camp, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.

Solutions

Maternal, New-born and Child Health (MNCH)

UNICEF places a strong value on a mother’s life and wellbeing for its impact on child’s health, survival and development. UNICEF in Pakistan supports the government in generating evidence and strengthening health information systems, improve and expand integrated MNCH care in targeted communities. It supports in the development of pilot projects that can be scaled up to provide quality healthcare services for mothers and children and protecting women’s right to safe and skilled deliveries. UNICEF helps the government in introducing life-saving interventions for mothers and children during delivery and pre/post-natal care. UNICEF focuses on community-based approaches which are innovative and at the same time, effective and efficient to reach out to the most disadvantaged communities in the country.

Routine Immunization

UNICEF supports the government in its routine immunisation efforts through procurement of vaccines and vaccine supply chain management; capacity building of staff on vaccine supply chain and interpersonal communication/social mobilisation skills; and increasing awareness among communities to create demand for immunisation services. We support the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) to reach every child by targeting urban slums, hard to reach/high risk areas and other disadvantaged communities and providing immunisation services to children who have not received any vaccine or missed a few.

Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD)

UNICEF Pakistan supports the Government in reducing Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (P&D) among children through research, evidence based policy change linked to GAPPD, procurement of essential medical supplies for prevention/treatment and their logistics/availability in target communities, and awareness raising among different stakeholders (government official, policy makers and public). We also help in building the capacity of healthcare providers in implementing and monitoring activities that support Government’s P&D initiatives in the country.

Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) of HIV

UNICEF supports the Government of Pakistan in preventive measures for Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) of HIV. We help the government in generating evidence through appropriate research and analysis to strengthen existing PPTCT and pediatric care services. UNICEF also supported the government in adolescent focused secondary analysis of Integrated Behavioural and Biological Surveillance data. The analysis has provided evidence for development of adolescent friendly programme planning. We also support the government in advocacy, social mobilisation and outreach activities among communities.

smiling school children give a thumbs up to the camera
UNICEF/PAKISTAN/Asad Zaidi
Happy school-children in Peshawar’s Zaryab Colony wait for their turn to be vaccinated against the deadly disease of measles.