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‘Woman dies of maternal complications every 30 minutes’

By Saher Baloch

Karachi: Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Pakistan (SOGP) hosted a seminar on Saturday, to discuss Maternal Health issues and its causes. In this regard SOGP is also initiating a project in collaboration with Packard’s Foundation to create awareness regarding abortion/ miscarriage and post abortion care.

In the introductory speech, Dr Samreena Hashmi, Secretary General PMA, highlighted the fact that we as a society need to change our misconceptions about women and their health. She also urged the civil society, which comprises of journalists, writers, poets and concerned government officials, to take a united stand on this issue.

“Empowerment doesn’t come from having a seat in the parliament, it occurs by educating women about their basic health rights, right to life being the first amongst them,” she explained.

Other speakers included Dr Nusrat Shah, a Gynecologist at the Civil Hospital and an Assistant Professor at Dow Medical College, who said that “every 30 minutes a woman dies from pregnancy related complications,” and added that, discriminations against women and their health issues would diminish “only when they are considered human and an integral part of society.” She also brought to the notice of the participants that unwanted pregnancy is the major health issue which leads to hasty abortions performed by untrained doctors or quacks which causes serious physical and mental complications for women.

Dr Shershah Syed said that health situation in Pakistan is deteriorating and we are falling behind because our government has not invested in the Health Care sector without an “incentives.” Apart from that Dr Syed criticised the media for discussing “trivial issues, which do not concern the common man, and neglecting problems related to health and education, which are by far the most neglected sectors in Pakistan.”

However, Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan didn’t agree with the speakers and criticised them for placing all the blame on the government rather than blaming the general public which has stopped reacting to anything serious. In a heated argument with Dr Samreena Hashmi, Senator Haseeb pointed out that there has not been a single health policy in the last ten years on which Dr Hashmi retorted that because “there’s nobody in the government to implement those policies.”

Fatima Surraiya Bajia, Nuzhat Kidwayi of WAF and Sheema Kirmani also attended the seminar. Kirmani spoke about the need to educate women so that they can make sound decisions for themselves.
Source: The News
Date:9/8/2009

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