Karachi, March 30, 2015 (PPI-OT): The Health Department Sindh has announced to celebrate Healthy Sindh Month with opening of three-days Sindh Health and Nutrition Festival in Tharparkar. This will be a flagship event with the objective of creating awareness and educate the local populace with the basic three themes i.e. nutrition, family planning and immunization or vaccination. Festival will be inaugurated by the Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah on 8th April in Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Cultural Complex at Mithi.
The other objective is to reinforce positive behaviour change and awareness in the communities towards nutrition, family planning, immunization and maternal and child health issues. Health and Nutrition Festival will continue till April 10th 2015.
Festival is aimed to be educative and illustrative to provide basic knowledge, and create awareness among the local population. The main focus will be to arrange different service stations of vertical programs to educate the visitors and local population with the importance of health, nutrition, and family planning. At the same time we intend to highlight all the endeavors that have already been made in this regard in the district.
This was announced by Minister Health Sindh Jam Mehtab Dahar and Secretary Health Iftikhar Ali Shallwani during a press conference held here in committee room of Health Department Sindh Secretariat on Monday. Special Secretary Public Health Sindh Dr. Khalid Shaikh, Chief Public Private Partnership Node and Special Initiative Dr. Ahsanullah Khan Wazeer and other officials were also present.
Jam Mehtab Dahar said that the district Tharparkar has recently been recovering from drought and nutrition problems due to the tangible efforts on part of health authorities and development partners. The main issue remains to be the lack of awareness among the local populace about the importance of nutrition, health and family planning issues.
The Department of Health and many other governmental and non-governmental agencies and stakeholders have been pooling their efforts to address the situation arising from the drought stricken region. The objective is full of impediments but not insurmountable, he added.
We will celebrate whole month to create awareness among public and improve health facilities upto union council level. Diseases like hepatitis, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV AIDS and others should be prevented through raising public awareness,” health minister said.
Responding to questions, Jam Mehtab Dahar said his department will make Sindh polio free this year. “Infant mortality rate is decreased in Tharparkar and other districts of Sindh as compared to Punjab districts. Number of patients visiting outpatient departments in Tharparkar is even higher than any major hospital of Karachi due to availability of quality healthcare,” he contested.
Secretary Health Iftikhar Ali Shallwani said that while it cannot be denied that there has been a series of unfortunate events that have marred district Tharparkar, a well-thought out approach to engage stakeholders and a large number of governmental, nongovernmental and international organizations will lead to more structured efforts in Thar and the locals will benefit greatly from it. Hence, as a first step, health department has decided to organize this festival and it will be a flagship first ever nutrition event in Tharparkar.
Festival is also aimed to highlight the current situation prevailing along with suggested solutions through health and nutrition stalls. This will mobilize and motivate internal (health workforce) and external (donors) stakeholders by providing them a clear picture of the various streams that they would be able to work on.
There will be health and nutrition stalls (activity based) and specialist medical camps will be set up where paediatricians, gynaecologists, ophthalmologists, general physicians, general surgeons, consultants will provide free consultation. Patients will be provided free medicine and laboratory testing facilities. Children will also be provided with free spectacles on prescription, Secretary Iftikhar Ali Shallwani told.
He told there will be parallel health awareness sessions with practical demonstrations to educate local masses about mother and child health, nutrition, family planning, immunization and other health issues in different halls of this complex. There will be puppet shows, kids play area and food courts. Handicrafts of Tharparkar and other areas of Sindh will be put on display during the festival.
Thar cultural night presenting local and regional artists, skids, tableaus and marvi story will be held on the evening of 9th April, Secretary Health added. Responding to a question, Iftikhar Ali Shallwani told that all expenses of this festival is born by stakeholders and donors while health department is spending nothing for this event.
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