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Is it the fault in stars of our children?

Newborns are dying in the hospitals of Sargodha, a month back same sort of news resonated from Faisalabad

What is killing them? It is the lack of facilities resulting from the lack of funds.


Because apparently our government has other pressing matters to attend to.

In every month there is an incident in which new born children are dying just because the backup generator failed to start or there wasn’t one to begin with or there was a shortage of breathing apparatus.

Does anyone care about those parents who had placed all their hopes and dreams in the arms of their newborns only to be told later that they died because the hospital didn’t have enough apparatus to keep their children alive?

In the past century we as the human race have come to take pride in the massive strides we have taken towards the pre and post natal care. But read this, According to the Global charity “Save the Children” Pakistan has the highest rate of first day deaths at 40.7 per 1000 births, followed by Nigeria (32.7), Sierra Leone (30.8), Somalia (29.7), Guinea-Bissau (29.4) ,Afghanistan (29.0) and Bangladesh (28.9).

Does this come across as a shock?

At first you might say this sounds outrageous, it can’t be true. How can we possibly be faring worse in post natal care than the most impoverished countries of the world?Sounds particularly hard to fathom doesn’t it? As far as Macro-economic indicators are concerned yes we do fare better than at least these Sub-Saharan countriesand of course Afghanistan. But the heartrending and somewhat startling reality is that a child has a better chance of surviving his first day in Afghanistan than in Pakistan.

What about Bangladesh? How is it that a country which was once our part until 1971 is performing much better in the same arena? Every year we reminisce the date of 16th December 1971(the date of fall of Dhaka) as the darkest hour of our country’s checkered history but the irony has it that even they are doing much better than their elder brother.

So the question is why we are doing so badly in a field where even the most impoverished countries of the world have been able to do better than us. The number of reasons are although numerous but I am going to focus on the most crucial and pressing one i.e. The discernible neglect of the health sector by our previous and present governments.

You see making colossal flyovers is way more crucial to our governments than making new hospitals. Here is a statistic the government is spending around PKR 50 Billion on the Rawalpindi-Islamabad metro bus project. I am not going to talk about the perceived benefits of such a project but compared to that most of the new large scale hospitals that have been built in the past five years  cost PKR 2 to 3 Billion. So with the same amount of money the government could have built around 20 state of the art hospitals.

But sadly the mother and children wards of government hospitals speak volumes of the apathy of our governments. The government is willing to spend a ginormous amount of money on a single road project and here is the kicker, this amount is more than the amount spent on the construction cost of all the new hospitals combined in Punjab. Every time an incident happens the authorities claim the lack of funds as the main cause and try to console the bereaved families by saying that it was the will of God. But these figures make you doubt that if all of this is really happening due to lack of funds or the government has got more critical use for these funds i.e. Building new roads over existing ones(Pun intended).

It makes you wonder for those children, the ones who failed to blossom because of apparent lack of facilities presumably due to lack of funds that it might have been the fault in their stars that led them to be born in this country of ours because let’s face it they had a better chance of survival in every other country of the world.

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