A National Seminar on ‘Best Practices’ was held in Karachi in early October 2009. The event was sponsored by Pakistan Initiative for Mothers and Newborns (PAIMAN), a USAID funded project, and organized by White Ribbon Alliance, Pakistan (WRA-P). It was a historic seminar where the, “Karachi Declaration on Scaling up MNCH-FP Best Practices in Pakistan” was signed. Around 70 participants including the representatives from Provincial Health and Population Welfare Ministries, Government of AJ&K, FATA, Government of Gilgit and Baltistan, donor agencies and development partners attended the ceremony.
Maternal issues such as Active Management of Third Stage Labour, Post Abortion Care (PAC), Expanding Contraceptive Choice, and Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy (HTSP) were discussed. Newborn issues such as Newborn Resuscitation, Essential Newborn Care, and the Introduction of Low Osmolarity ORS & Zinc were thoroughly addressed, by the representatives and stakeholders, as being the best practice highlights of the issue at hand.
Dr. Nabeela Ali, Chief of Party PAIMAN, presented the current maternal and reproductive health situation in the country. She acknowledged how even with many hurdles, the situation of maternal and newborn health has steadily increased in the country over time. Professor Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutta (Chairman Pediatrics Department Aga Khan University, Karachi) pointed out that the child health is not very encouraging with a very high child mortality rate under the age of five, as the country witnesses 300,000 deaths per year. International health experts on maternal and child health shared with examples that there is room for improvement in the developing countries, some of which have shown a remarkable progress.
The seminar also included the signing ceremony of the Karachi Declaration. It is a historic pledge of Ministries and Departments of Health and Population Welfare to work in unison to scale-up selected high impact Best Practices in MNCH-FP and develop an action plan for their execution at Federal, Provincial and District levels. The secretaries in their remarks congratulated the Best Practices Pakistan Country Team on this achievement and expressed hope and support for the implementation of the declaration. The key note addresses were followed by question answer sessions where by the participants sought information, made comments and suggestions about the relevance of the global evidence with the local context. Many constructive ideas and comments were shared in regard to improving the maternal and newborn situation.
The policy seminar was successful in achieving its intended objectives for scaling up of Best Practices in Pakistan. Through this seminar the Country Team was able to obtain a formal commitment of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Population Welfare for scaling up of the Best Practices in Pakistan. The signing of the Karachi Declaration was no less a great achievement. Through workshops and group work the participants provided the Country Team and policy makers with action steps which could be taken to scale up the Best Practices in Pakistan. Therefore, the seminar was instrumental in sensitizing the policy community on Best Practices and mustering their support and endorsement for scaling up which is expected to go a long way in the efforts focusing the cause of scaling up of Best Practices in Pakistan.