Vaccine coverage, neonatal nutritional levels and mortality rates known to be improved.
ISLAMABAD: The National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS) conducted Pakistan’s 4th Demographic and Health Survey 2017-2018, under the patronage of the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations.
With government’s utmost support, clear improvements have been seen in child vaccine coverage, nutritional status of children, and the mortality rates have seem to fallen, indicating the improvements in the country’s health system.
The survey’s detailed report is expected to be compiled by the month of December.
Previously, the infant mortality rate was recorded to be 74 per 1000 live births, bringing them down to 62 deaths per 1,000 live births. The under-five mortality rate was recorded at 74 deaths per 1000 live births, as compared to the previous statistics of 89 deaths per 1000 births.
The neonatal mortality rate also decreased in the past 5 years, from 55 to 42 deaths per 1000 live births.
Focusing on the presence of skilled care providers, this survey showed that 69% of children born in the past 5 years were delivered by a skilled staff.
It was further noted that 66% of all births took place in a health facility, as compared to only 48% five years ago.
It was also revealed that, urban women were more likely to benefit from skilled delivery care than rural women with 84% of births to urban mothers assisted by a skilled provider. Moreover, 81% of babies were delivered in a health facility. This was 63% and 59% respectively for women in rural areas.
Acknowledging the government’s efforts in working over the Vaccine coverage, led to increased rates over the past 5 years from 54% to 66%.
Punjab had the highest coverage rate of 80% followed by AJK at 75%, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) at 68%, Gilgit-Baltistan at 57%, K-P at 55%, Sindh at 49%, Balochistan at 29% and FATA at 30%.
A great deal of improvement was also shown in the matter of child’s nutrition via breastfeeding, as 48% of the infants aged 6 months and below were exclusively breast fed, while 7% were left devoid and were taking formula or other supplementary liquids.
This survey also indicated that the nutritional status of children in Pakistan has improved over the last 5 years. The percentage of stunted children declined from 45% in 2012-13 to 38% in the 2017-18. A similar downward trend, from 30% to 23% was observed for underweight children.
Children who are wasted also declined from 11% to 7% and ones who are obese remained at 3% over this period.
The PDH survey report also revealed that fertility was higher amongst rural women than urban women.
However, the report noted that there has been a steady decline in fertility rates over time. From 5.4 births per woman as reported in the 1990-91 PDHS to 3.6 births per woman in the 2017-18 PDHS — a drop of about two births per woman in almost three decades. However, the decline is minimal in the recent period with 3.8 births per woman recorded in the 2012-13 survey.
Punjab has the lowest fertility rate of 3.4%, Sindh is 3.6, K-P and Balochistan are at 4%, ICT at 3%, FATA areas at 4.8%, AJK at 3.7%, and G-B 4.8%.
Use of contraceptives has remained stagnant over the past 5 years.
17% of currently married women are deprived of family planning service; whereas, 34% of married women are currently using a contraceptive method.