Press Release
Karachi: Sindh Minister for Women Development and Social Welfare Robina Qaimkhani has said that early age child marriages will be banned soon as legislation has already been proposed that no girl will get marry before attaining the age of 18 years.

This legislation is drafted by the department of Women Development and Social Welfare and wetted by the Law Department and Sindh Cabinet respectively. Now this draft will be presented in the coming session of Sindh Assembly to be passed. Violators of this law will be fined rupees one lac (100,000) cash and could be imprisoned for two years.

She was speaking in a seminar on mother and child health held here in a local hotel. Seminar was organized by National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) and supported by the Mother and Newborns Care Program, Health Department Sindh. Dr Sher Shah Syed, Dr Rufina Soomro, Dr Kaiser Waheed Chairman National Forum for Environment and Health Dr. Kaiser Waheed, President NFEH Naeem Qureshi, Dr. Khalil Shaikh of Rehnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan, Afia Salam known chef Gulzar and Yogi Wajahat also spoke on this occasion.

“We are witnessing that younger girls at the age of 13 years admitted in shelter homes complained that their family is forcing them to get marry at this age. We will have to stop early child marriages as we know that early marriages results in poor health of expecting mothers and their newborns. When here is law that no one can own property or obtain national identity card before age of 18 years than why not this should be applied for marriages,” the minister argued.

Robina Qaimkhani told that Shaheed Benazeer Bhutto launched the Lady Health Workers Program to decrease maternal and infant mortality in her government and her party Pakistan Peoples Party has always focused women population of the country. “We believe that without giving opportunities to women which are half of our population, we can’t get prosperity,” she added.

Director, MNCH Program Sindh, Dr. Sahib Jan Badar informed that government has introduced a new cadre of Community Midwives in health system to improve maternal and newborns indicators in the province.

“More than 1400 such community midwives are under training and being deployed in far flung and rural areas of Sindh. Our target is to deploy 6000 community midwives which can drastically bring down the rate of maternal and infant mortality,” she added.

Dr. Sahib Jan said that these community midwives will provide antenatal care to expecting mothers, ensure safe delivery of babies at door step or nearest to home, provide post-delivery care, family planning and nutritional services to mothers. “Government alone can’t do much more and to achieve our goals we all will have to work together. Media should also promote health activities and positivist in the society,” she urged.

Talking about early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, Dr. Rufina Soomro of Liaquat National hospital Karachi informed the gathering that 30 percent of women under the age of 40 years are at risk of breast cancer and risk is increased with the ageing which is alarming.

“Women at the age of 40 and above must have ultrasound or mammogram scan one a year. Women about 40 years of age should have their breasts examined at least once a month. They can also examine their breasts themselves or can have examined from trained doctor, nurse or paramedical staff,” she advised.

“Injury in breast dimples, mass or bloody discharge from nipples could be symptoms of breast cancer and in such case one should immediately consult a specialist and have breast ultrasound or mammography. If it is ignored than cancer could spread in whole of breast resulting in complete removal of breast or my cause death if spread in the body,” she explained.

“There is only one mammography machine each in Larkana and Hyderabad apart from Karachi public-sector Atomic Energy Centers. These issues should be addressed and at least screening facilities should be provided at district level,” she urged.

Renowned gynecologist and former Secretary Pakistan Medical Association Dr. Sher Shah Syed said that more than 600,000 quacks are playing havoc with the lives of people and pregnant women are also on their apathy most of times in rural areas. “Three delays are often major cause of maternal deaths: when labor pains starts in laws do not allow expecting mother to go to hospital: if she is allowed ambulance stuck in traffic and she starts bleeding: if she is so lucky to reach hospital than there is no trained staff available,” he observed.

“A doctor do not save mother rather a trained nurse, paramedical staff can save her by providing timely care. Religious and political leaders are against education and awareness of women as they are terrified of them. Our major issue is illiteracy and lack of knowledge,” .

Dr.kaiser Waheed highlighted issues of women health & urged minister & government of sindh to resolve these problems with political commitment.

M.Naeem Qureshi briefed about NFEH activities & objective of awareness seminar, he thanks all speakers, sponsors for their support.

Earlier Minister Women development presented 5 appreciation awards to nurses from various organizations for their long & out standing services.