The continued decline in infant mortality rate in Pakistan in recent years reflects a better societal awareness of the issue. Infant mortality rate has been defined as the number of deaths per 1,000 live births of children of less than one year of age. According to the Pakistan Demographic Survey 2020, the infant mortality rate in the country is 56 in comparison with 62 in 2018-19. The rate stood at 70.4% in 2010 and then has gone on falling steadily in subsequent years. However, as regards the current infant mortality rate, there exists a disparity between urban and rural areas of the country. While it stands at 50 in cities and towns, it is 59 in villages indicating a relative lack of health services and general awareness among the rural folks about the significance of health of mother and child.
The decline in child mortality rate indicates socio-economic conditions, habits of hygiene in society and the availability and availing of medical facilities. The situation shows that Pakistan has not lagged behind in providing the required medical facilities and raising society’s awareness about the significance of reducing the infant death rate. The availability of trained midwives in all areas has contributed considerably in lowering the infant mortality rate. The trained midwives provide valuable advice to expectant mothers on pregnancy and taking care of babies. Now even in most rural areas, women are taken to hospitals for child-birth, and this protects them from complications that might arise from child delivery at home. This also ensures better care for babies. Improved healthcare facilities and their increasing use by people are resulting in the survival of more healthy children. This has increased life expectancy in the country, which now stands at 65 years for males and 65.5 years for females.
Infant mortality rate is declining all over the world. Since many babies die of childhood diarrohea, the availability of ORS has played a significant role in reducing infant mortality rate. Advancements in treatment of childhood pneumonia have also enabled many children to survive.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2022.