KARACHI: Minister for Health and Population Welfare Sindh, Dr Azra Pechuho, chaired a progress review meeting on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH).
The meeting was also attended by Parliamentary Secretary for Health in Sindh Assembly, Qasim Siraj Soomro, Secretary Health, Dr Kazim Jatoi, DG Health Services, Dr Irshad Memon and Deputy DG Health RMNCH, Dr Zulfikar Ali Dharejo.
The meeting discussed in detail the role and services provided by Lady Health Workers (LHW’s), Lady Health Supervisors (LHS’s) and Community Midwives (CMW’s). Vacancies for Lady Health Worker positions must be interviewed for, tested and appointed immediately, and the current year would see the recruitment and training of 2130 LHW’s. Third-party systems will be utilized to aid in the recruitment process in order to test the capabilities of the individuals being employed.
RMNCH services being provided in Sindh are at a greater standard than those provided in the rest of the country. It was discussed in the meeting that to increase the functionality of the work being done by LHWs, it is imperative to recruit and appoint more women medical officers at a district level.
There are 20,446 LHWs and 770 LHS’s working throughout the province, providing the basics of healthcare in even the most remote and difficult to access regions. The areas that require the most assistance and services of LHW’s should be surveyed, and LHW’s should be trained accordingly.
It was also decided in the meeting that LHW’s should retire by the age of 50, and their appointments should take place when they are between the ages of 20-30. The recruitment criteria will entail them being chosen from their union councils, and every recruit must have completed their education till matric level.
It was also surmised in the meeting that in a population of 20 million, the efficacy and reach of LHWs and their services is 48%. In the upcoming three years, this percentage must increase in order to provide the most number of people with accessible healthcare services.
There are currently 3348 community midwives operating within the province, and they are a major factor in infant mortality and maternal malnutrition being on the decrease in Sindh. Community midwives’ interviews and training for the period of 2021-23 has been conducted as of January 2021, and classes for 820 successful candidates have been initiated on the 3rd of March 2021.
Minister for Health also lauded the commendable work done by LHW’s during the difficulties presented by the pandemic and said that despite corona, the LHW work-force continued to make healthcare facilities accessible across the province.
It was also discussed that after a period of drought in Thar, a thousand more LHWs were recruited in order to provide the needed healthcare services in the region. Minister for Health added that the number of LHW’s there must be increased to meet the local population’s demands.