The Punjab government has taken a prerequisite step towards improving maternal and child health by passing the Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Authority Bill 2014. Now, 48,000 lady health workers and 1,947 health supervisors are permanent employees and in a better position to ensure provision of basic health facilities, especially to the under privileged mothers and children of the province.
Pakistan is facing considerable challenges towards achieving MDG 4 and 5, which focus on mother and child survival. The mortality rate of newborns and children under five stands at 86 and 42 per 1,000 live births in 2012 representing insufficient progress from 138 and 56 in 1998. Different factors, including lack of awareness, poverty and ill-equipped health facilities have been consistently exacerbating the situation. Moreover, the lack of skilled birth attendants has also contributed to the existing situation. The above mentioned statistics no doubt present a gloomy picture of the health system of the country. To combat the situation, the promising initiatives as taken by the Punjab government are much needed. The regularisation of lady health workers in Punjab will definitely improve the health indicators of the province – and the country.