Govt urged for extensive investment in education sector

Govt urged for extensive investment in education sector

KARACHI: Country is in urgent need to invest extensively in the education sector with equal attention towards women empowerment, said Professor Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Founding Director of Aga Khan University's Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health and Co-Director of SickKids Centre for Global Child Health.

Addressing the launching ceremony of medical journal - 2016, containing 12 articles related to fertility rates in South Asia, he said research done and data collected from across the country reveals that fertility rate, during past 14 years, has not decreased even by 1%.

It was 4.1% in 2004 and 3.6% in 2014, said the senior researcher.

Over 60 researchers, from South Asia and outside, including experts from the Aga Khan University, have contributed to the collection, highlighting regional health priorities and recommending actions to improve public health.

Professor Bhutta and other speakers on the occasion were of concerted opinion that to deal with the issue of high fertility rates, the priority should be to educate people and empower each country's women.

Bangladesh was highly appreciated for investing in education and female empowerment consequently reporting much better in many of the maternal and child health indicators.

Empowered women are more inclined to seek healthcare when in need leading to improved health, education and long term outcomes, he said.

Professor Bhutta underscored the importance of scientific collaboration and partnerships in the region to address priority issues and gaps in public health.

Authors in their respective research work have draw attention to the needs of people and set out priority actions for governments.

People of South Asia deserve better, was basically the aim to publish articles on health issues in the region.

Dr. Sajid Soofi, an associate professor of paediatrics at AKU, contributed to the paper on "conflict in South Asia and its impact on health".

The paper has attempted to highlight the issues of mortality, sexual health, mental health, reproductive and child health, including gender based violence to improve health outcomes in the region.

Dr Javaid Khan, a professor of medicine at AKU, said 30% of men and 4% of women above the age of 15 smoke in South Asia.

The consumption of smokeless tobacco is the highest in the region and its use leads to head and neck cancer, he added.

Dr. Javaid Khan said governments in the region should consider raising taxes on cigarettes, tobacco and smokeless tobacco products.

This is the most effective intervention to curb smoking, he said emphasizing that smoking should also be banned in public places, he said.

"One of the biggest challenges that needs to be addressed in the region is high consumption of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, betel nut, gutka, main puri and paan masala," he said.

Other speakers to address the ceremony also included Dr. Ather Enam, Dr. Tazeen Jafar, Dr. Kamran Abbasi and Dr. Ashar Malik. (APP)