About the Author: Richard Snelsire serves as Spokesperson for U.S. Embassy Islamabad.
In a ceremony held June 3 in Karachi, the United States celebrated the graduation of 72 community midwives who recently completed an 18-month training course to improve medical care for mothers and newborns in communities throughout the Sindh province. The training is part of the Pakistan Initiative for Mothers and Newborns (PAIMAN), funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
"The Sindh government is fully committed to improving the maternal, newborn and child health status in the province and to achieving the Millennium Development Goals for reducing maternal and child mortality," said Mr. Syed Hashim Raza Zaidi, Secretary of Health for Sindh. "The presence of more trained midwives will help us to realize this goal."
In collaboration with the Government of Pakistan, USAID has trained 1,624 community midwives across the country in safe birthing methods for rural communities, 11,000 lady health workers in group counseling skills for family planning, and an additional 6,500 in management of childhood illnesses. USAID has also upgraded and supplied 10 health facilities in Sindh and donated 17 ambulances for transportation of emergency obstetric cases from rural areas.
"Health and safety of mothers and newborns is a shared responsibility among families, communities and government," said Mary Elizabeth Madden, U.S. Consul for Political and Economic Affairs in Karachi. "Healthy mothers and children are Pakistan's future."