ISLAMABAD: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) certified 18 district health and population managers from Sindh and Balochistan “to emerge as leading voices to encourage birth spacing” in their respective districts. “Infant and child survival rates have not changed much in the past ten years,” said Mary Skarie, USAID/Pakistan’s Health Office Chief while speaking at the conclusion of a training workshop on reproductive health in Pakistan. “Infant and child deaths can be reduced if births are spaced three to five years apart.” The USAID workshop trained health managers on the impact of population dynamics and reproductive health in their districts. The managers are now better prepared to respond to health and development challenges facing areas they serve.
The eight-day training workshop was part of USAID’s five-year, $60 million Family Advancement for Life and Health (FALAH) program. FALAH increases the accessibility and use of contraceptives and birth-spacing methods which help reduce high maternal and infant mortality rates in Pakistan.
FALAH is being implemented in districts of Gwadar, Jaffarabad, Kech/Turbat, Khuzdar, Lasbela, and Zhob in Balochistan, Battagram, Buner, Charsadda, Lakki Marwat, Swabi, and Upper Dir in NWFP, Dera Ghazi Khan and Jhelum in Punjab, and Dadu, Ghotki, Larkana, Sanghar, Sukkur, and Thatta in Sindh. Support for FALAH is part of the $1.5 billion in aid that the U.S. Government is providing to Pakistan, through USAID, over five years to improve economic growth, education, health, and governance and to assist with earthquake reconstruction.-SANA