Govt promises to make child health institute fully functional by June.

PESHAWAR -- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health minister Taimur Khan Jhagra has announced that the provincial government will make the Khyber Institute of Child Health fully functional within six months despite the non-provision of the promised funds by the federal government.

'The centre is not willing to release funds for this [KICH] project but even then, we [provincial government] will complete it by next June,' the minister told a Universal Children's Day function here.

The event was held by the Pakistan Paediatrics Association (PPA) in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) at the KICH, Hayatabad Township, which is currently partially functional.

Senior doctors, who were also in attendance, voiced concern about a long delay in the institute's full operationalisation despite its approval by the federal government in 2008.

Minister claims centre not providing funds

Mr Jhagra declared children the nation's future and called for their development by improving immunisation and reducing malnourishment.

He said the government had adopted different strategies to control population growth, reduce infant and child mortality rates, and check stunting.

'We operationalised the Peshawar Institute of Cardiology after it remained in limbo for 15 years. Now, it has become a state-of-art institute,' he said.

The minister, who also holds the portfolio of finance, said under the PTI's flagship Sehat Card Plus programme, the government was offering free treatment worth of Rs1 million to every family in the province.

Earlier, former head of the child health department at the Khyber Medical College Prof Abdul Hameed, who had designed the KICH, said governance in any country could be judged by the protection of the children's rights.

'If the situation regarding child rights is satisfactory, then the governance is good, but it will be bad if the children are denied rights,' he said.

Prof Abdul Hameed said children had the right to survival, development, protection and participation, but 90 per cent of Pakistani children died before reaching the age of five years and 75 per cent lost life within a year of their birth.

He said 50 per cent of the children were malnourished and more than 60 per cent of the children weren't fully immunised, so they're exposed to a host of diseases, which could impact their learning capabilities.


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