On the occasion of the World Health Day, the Department for International Development (DFID) in Britain has announced that it will be giving the Pakistan Government 41 million dollars for upgrading healthcare in that country.
DFID officials said that the funding would be used to support the National Health Facility (30 million dollars) and the government's National Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) initiative (11 million dollars).
The government estimated that these programmes could save the lives of up to 65,000 children and 5,000 mothers, and protect 32 million children from polio in 2008.
With one in 10 children in Pakistan not reaching their fifth birthday and every year at least 15,000 women dying from the complications of pregnancy and childbirth, improving healthcare in the country is a real challenge.
"In order to reach the Millennium Development Goals, to cut child deaths and improve mother's health, to which Pakistan is committed and signed up to, we must do better than we have. The National Health Facility and the MNCH programme will help get Pakistan on the road there," The News quoted Health Secretary Khushnood Lashari, as saying.
"The DFID Pakistan is the major donor in health in Pakistan. In leading by example, it improves confidence in the sector, catalysing inward investment and it has brought about significant direct improvements in services," said Dr Bile, the WHO representative in Pakistan.
The DFID support for the National Health Facility has totalled 167 million dollars since 2003.