ASIA/PAKISTAN - Health facilities are weak and insufficient: 30 thousand women and thousands of children die each year

Islamabad (Agenzia Fides) - Mother and child health care in Pakistan is extremely precarious, health facilities are weak and insufficient. From 25 000 to 30 000 women die each year due to complications due to pregnancy and childbirth. The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) estimates that in the country, annually, there are approximately 5 000 cases of obstetric fistula, a tearing during birth. Over a million children die before reaching 5 years of age and over 16 000 after one month of birth. What worsens this scenario is the new challenge of HIV/AIDS which is becoming increasingly heavy. According to what was reported to Fides by the Camillian father Mushtaq Anjum, the majority of Pakistanis do not have access to basic sanitation. Women and children are the most vulnerable. The lack of health workers exacerbates the problem and worsens the situation of the most vulnerable and needy of society. In fact, women in this patriarchal society, are often marginalized in almost all sectors, particularly in the health sector. Along with children they suffer the consequences when their loved ones, fathers, brothers and other male relatives, fall victim of drugs and become addicts at high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B and C, all situations that marginalize the whole family from the rest of society. However, reports Fr. Mushtaq, the great courage of the hemorrhaging woman quoted from the Gospel of Mark (5,25-34) gives hope to Pakistani women of all religious traditions who are hungry for health and salvation. The objective of Ministers of the Sick is "trying to emulate Jesus, the healer, helping patients to find answers to persistent questions about the meaning of suffering, evil and death" highlights the Camillian. Marked by desperate health conditions, poverty and a very precarious healthcare system, Pakistani women need to hear words of comfort, they need someone to fight for their rights. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 07/05/2012)

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