Tuesday, June 4, 2019

How Grim is the State of Pakistan's Social Sector?

If you read Pakistan media headlines and donation-seeking NGOs and activists' reports these days, you'd conclude that the social sector situation is entirely hopeless. However, if you look at children's education and health trend lines based on data from credible international sources, you would feel a sense of optimism. This exercise gives new meaning to what former US President Bill Clinton has said: Follow the trend lines, not the headlines. Unlike the alarming headlines, the trend lines in Pakistan show rising school enrollment rates and declining infant mortality rates.

Key Social Indicators:

The quickest way to assess Pakistan's social sector progress is to look at two key indicators:  School enrollment rates and infant mortality. These basic social indicators capture the state of schooling, nutrition and health care. Pakistan is continuing to make slow but steady progress on both of these indicators. Anything that can be done to accelerate the pace will help Pakistan move up to higher levels as proposed by Dr. Hans Rosling and adopted by the United Nations. 

Rising Primary Enrollment:

Gross enrollment in Pakistani primary schools exceeded 97% in 2016, up from 92% ten years ago. Gross enrollment rate (GER) is different from net enrollment rate (NER). The former refers to primary enrollment of all students of all ages while the latter counts enrolled students as percentage of students in the official primary age bracket. The primary NER in Pakistan is significantly lower but the higher GER indicates many of these kids eventually enroll in primary schools albeit at older ages. 

Source: World Bank Education Statistics


Declining Infant Mortality Rate: 

The infant mortality rate (IMR), defined as the number of deaths in children under 1 year of age per 1000 live births in the same year, is universally regarded as a highly sensitive (proxy) measure of population health.  A declining rate is an indication of improving health. IMR in Pakistan has declined from 86 in 1990-91 to 74 in 2012-13 and 62 in the latest survey in 2017-18.

Pakistan Child Mortality Rates. Source: PDHS 2017-18

During the 5 years immediately preceding the survey, the infant mortality rate (IMR) was 62 deaths per 1,000 live births. The child mortality rate was 13 deaths per 1,000 children surviving to age 12 months, while the overall under-5 mortality rate was 74 deaths per 1,000 live births. Eighty-four percent of all deaths among children under age 5 in Pakistan take place before a child’s first birthday, with 57% occurring during the first month of life (42 deaths per 1,000 live births).

Human Development Ranking:

It appears that improvements in education and health care indicators in Pakistan are slower than other countries in South Asia region. Pakistan's human development ranking plunged to 150 in 2018, down from 149 in 2017. It is worse than Bangladesh at 136, India at 130 and Nepal at 149. The decade of democracy under Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has produced the slowest annual human development growth rate in the last 30 years. The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018.

UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) represents human progress in one indicator that combines information on people’s health, education and income.

Pakistan's Human Development Growth Rate By Decades. Source: HDR 2018

Pakistan saw average annual HDI (Human Development Index) growth rate of 1.08% in 1990-2000, 1.57% in 2000-2010 and 0.95% in 2010-2017, according to Human Development Indices and Indicators 2018 Statistical Update.  The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018.

Pakistan@100: Shaping the Future:

Pakistani leaders should heed the recommendations of a recent report by the World Bank titled "Pakistan@100: Shaping the Future" regarding investments in the people. Here's a key excerpt of the World Bank report:

"Pakistan’s greatest asset is its people – a young population of 208 million. This large population can transform into a demographic dividend that drives economic growth. To achieve that, Pakistan must act fast and strategically to: i) manage population growth and improve maternal health, ii) improve early childhood development, focusing on nutrition and health, and iii) boost spending on education and skills for all, according to the report".

Summary: 

The state of Pakistan's social sector is not as dire as the headlines suggest. There's reason for optimism. Key indicators show that education and health care in Pakistan are improving but such improvements are slower than in other countries in South Asia region. Pakistan's human development ranking plunged to 150 in 2018, down from 149 in 2017. It is worse than Bangladesh at 136, India at 130 and Nepal at 149. The decade of democracy under Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has produced the slowest annual human development growth rate in the last 30 years. The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018. One of the biggest challenges facing the PTI government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is to significantly accelerate human development rates in Pakistan.

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19 comments:

Anonymous said...

The trend in Pakistan in health especially child-health is not keeping pace with other countries in South Asia. As a WHO worker, Pakistan seems to be a very difficult place to work. While setting up Polio Administration Programme, we had to get 24/7 armed guard protection because of a pervasive belief that the world was anti-Pakistan. That needs to change for Pakistan's sake.


Morgan

Riaz Haq said...

Morgan: " we had to get 24/7 armed guard protection because of a pervasive belief that the world was anti-Pakistan"

Yes, there are conspiracy theories driving anti-vaxxers in Pakistan as elsewhere in the world but , unfortunately, US CIA actions have reinforced such theories in Pakistan.

Here's how a piece by Maryn McKenna published in Wired magazine describes the outrage:

"I felt, and still feel, that the maneuver — which was belatedly acknowledged by the CIA — was a cynical attempt to hijack the credibility that public health workers have built up over decades with local populations. I especially felt it endangered the status of the fraught polio-eradication campaign, which over the past decade has been challenged in majority-Muslim areas in Africa and South Asia over beliefs that polio vaccination is actually a covert campaign to harm Muslim children — an accusation that seems fantastic, but begins to make sense when you realize some of those areas have perfectly good reasons to distrust vaccination campaigns."

https://www.riazhaq.com/2012/05/american-hypocrisy-on-dr-afridis.html


In spite of serious issues created by US war on terror, the latest PDHS survey indicates that 66% of the children in Pakistan have received all basic vaccinations, up from 35% in 1990-91 and 55% in 2012-13. Only 4% have had no vaccinations, down from 28% in 1990-91.

https://www.riazhaq.com/2019/03/pakistan-survey-reveals-positive-trends.html

Riaz Haq said...

People Can Prosper And Thrive If Pakistan Reforms Faster

https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2019/03/18/people-can-prosper-and-thrive-if-pakistan-reforms-faster

ISLAMABAD, March 18, 2019 – Pakistan urgently needs to invest more and better in its people if they are to be richer, better educated, and healthier when the country turns 100 years old in 2047, says a new report by the World Bank.

Launched today at the Human Capital Summit, the report, Pakistan@100: Shaping the Future, urges Pakistan to overcome its boom-bust cycles through a deep-rooted economic transformation. It recommends the essential reforms Pakistan needs now to accelerate and sustain growth. This means increasing and improving human capital investment, boosting productivity, promoting social and environmental sustainability, ensuring good governance, and leveraging its location to connect more with neighbors and the world beyond says the report.

“There are steps Pakistan can take today to boost its economic performance and thereby ensure a better future for its people,” says Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for South Asia. “These steps are ones that other countries have taken to open up their business sectors to competition and innovation and laying the foundations for growth, investment, and good jobs.”

The forward-looking report argues that Pakistan’s greatest asset is its people – a young population of 208 million. This large population can transform into a demographic dividend that drives economic growth. To achieve that, Pakistan must act fast and strategically to: i) manage population growth and improve maternal health, ii) improve early childhood development, focusing on nutrition and health, and iii) boost spending on education and skills for all, according to the report.

“Because the next generation is meeting only 40 percent of its potential it means that Pakistan is foregoing much of its economic growth, but this can change if women’s potential is unlocked,” says Annette Dixon, World Bank Vice President for Human Development. “When women and girls are empowered to make their own decisions, they stay in school longer, they start families a little later, have fewer children, contribute more to the economy, and invest more in their children. It’s a virtuous circle that’s good for families and good for the whole country.”

https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/31335

Riaz Haq said...

PM Imran Khan Focuses More On Attracting Investment In Social Sector Under CPEC

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/business/pm-imran-khan-focuses-more-on-attracting-inve-637693.html

Prime Minister Imran Khan has focused more on attracting investment in the social sector within the framework of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which would directly benefit the people of Pakistan, Focal Person of Chief Minister of Balochistan's Task Force on Youth, Sustainable Development Goals, Naseem Khan Achakzai said on Tuesday.

"Within the CPEC project, the Chinese government is expected to help Pakistan build hospitals and schools. This is one of the Prime Minister's focuses, which will directly benefit the people of Pakistan," he said in an exclusive interview with Global Times during his visit to the Chinese capital city.

On the construction of Gwadar Port and other CPEC projects, he remarked that for the growth of CPEC, the Gwadar international airport will be built three years from now, so the port is now somehow operational. There have been housing entities coming to Gwadar.

Gwadar will have its new master plan as well. There's a lot of construction going on when it comes to development projects. Thanks to CPEC, a lot of people, mostly Pakistanis, are purchasing property, both residential and commercial, in Gwadar, he added He informed that there are military troops and the local police who are guarding CPEC projects. The port is not accessible to everyone, only relevant employees.

"It's well understood that the development of CPEC helps improve Pakistan's infrastructure and its economy. It's beneficial for neighboring countries such as Iran and Afghanistan as well. If all goes smoothly, Pakistan will be an even stronger player in the South Asian region,"� he added.

Naseem Achakzai said that increasing technology exchange is one of the important things that should be done. That can be best practiced in the agriculture sector, as Pakistan's economy is highly dependent on the agriculture sector.

It is hoped that there should be greater cooperation in the agricultural field between China and Pakistan for local farmers and landowners to have more produce. A lot of technology has been used in farming in China. The same can be replicated in Pakistan.

Pakistan, he said, also needs to focus even more on healthcare and education, and obviously under the umbrella would be needing further support in these sectors.

He said education and employment are directly interrelated in that improved vocational and technical training, in particular, could better prepare the local labor force for wide-ranging job opportunities enabled by CPEC.

As the project goes further, more jobs will be created and an increase in engineering and exchange in technical know-how will be expected, factoring into the vision that there will be industrial zones around the CPEC route, he added.

While dispelling undue fears over the flagship project, he said since the announcement of CPEC in 2013, the security situation in the whole of Balochistan has improved substantially. From 2013 to date, figures show there's been a rapid decrease in attacks and other target killings.

The Pakistani military has a special division assigned for the CPEC project, he added.

Naseem Achakzai said the stability in Gwadar and Balochistan is very important for CPEC, since Gwadar is the heart and soul of CPEC. After the attack, Pakistan has already been acting more against the terrorist groups.

At the end of March, the second international Gwadar expo was held in the port city, with many high-level Chinese and Pakistan officials attending the expo.

---

"Once there's heavy traffic coming on the main route, there are side links attached to it, initially giving a boost to local tourism and local businesses such as restaurants. Everybody is excited about it," he added.

Riaz Haq said...

A #Library Thrives, Quietly, in One of #Pakistan’s #Gun Markets in #Tribal Area. The Darra Adam Khel Library, less than a year old and with more than 2,500 books, offers residents a respite from the #arms bazaar that dominates local life. #FATA #KP
https://nyti.ms/2RmnQ9w

It has even caught the attention of the market’s arms sellers. Noor Ahmad Malik, sitting inside his gun shop, has gotten interested in books about India and Pakistan and Islamic history, calling the library the “best thing that happened recently for the people here.”


Darra Adam Khel was under Taliban control for years until the Pakistani Army cleared it in 2010. Still, it has been regularly targeted by militants, including a suicide bombing in 2012 that killed 16 people, and mosque attacks in 2010 that killed more than 60. With a population of more than 100,000, it is still largely no-man’s land, where Pakistani law wasn’t applicable until the merger of tribal areas in the neighboring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province last year.

Now the military is helping Muhammad build a new library that can accommodate up to 65 people, seeing it as a way to help residents recover from years of traumatic violence.

“People are still reeling from the militancy, which has killed hundreds of civilians and soldiers,” said a government official serving in the area, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to speak with the news media. “They are more prone to fear and stress, particularly among children, and now the availability of books is a good option for knowledge and education.”


In the nine months it has been open, it has drawn about 240 members, who pay 150 Pakistani rupees, about $1, a year. Thirty members are women, even though Darra Adam Khel is a conservative area where women are not allowed to go outside unaccompanied. They select books using the library’s Facebook page.

One of them is Shifa Raj, Muhammad’s 11-year-old daughter. A sixth grader and avid reader, she helps her father deliver books to the female members of the library.

“I told girls in the school that we have a library in our area: If you are interested, I will provide membership forms,” she said. “The response was remarkable.”

Muhammad considers the Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai “our pride,” for her efforts to champion education for girls and becoming the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.

“I was born here,” Muhammad said. “I want the world to remember Darra Adam Khel with a good reputation, not for guns but for the books.”

Riaz Haq said...

USAID funding construction of 112 schools in Sindh

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/487012-usaid-funding-construction-of-112-schools-in-sindh

SUKKUR: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Director for Sindh and Balochistan Michael Hryshchyshyn and Qazi Shahid Pervez, Secretary, School Education and Literacy Department, Government of Sindh inaugurated the recently completed school, Government Modern High School Sukkur, constructed with the USAID support.

Local notables, community elders, teachers, students, and parents were present on the occasion. The USAID funded new building of Government Modern High School Sukkur, was constructed at a cost of the $159.2 million. The USAID is assisting Sindh Basic Education Programme (SBEP), in partnership with the Government of Sindh.

Agha Fakhur Hussain, SBEP Programme Director, said the SBEP is a flagship partnership between the government of Sindh and the USAID. He said under the programme 112 schools would be constructed out of which 62 have been completed and 42 were handed over to the Education Management Organizations. The remaining 44 schools are in different stages of completion, he said.

The programme aims to increase and sustain student enrollment in primary, middle, and secondary public schools in select areas of Sindh, with a special focus on providing opportunity to children who have dropped out of school. In addition to constructing schools, SBEP also supports the government’s reforms in education, community mobilization, public-private partnerships, and improving reading competencies of students.

Riaz Haq said...

1 billion Dollar grant from China to fund social sector development projects under CPEC

http://www.cpecinfo.com/news/1-billion-dollar-grant-from-china-to-fund-social-sector-development-projects-under-cpec/NjcxMg==

After Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China and the 8th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting, socioeconomic development officially became part of the portfolio of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Now, a Chinese team is set to visit Pakistan this week to discuss various social sector projects in the country, which will be funded by a $1 billion Chinese grant. A priority list is expected to be shared by the Ministry of Planning with the Chinese team, after reviewing the proposals given by the provinces.

A team of Chinese experts is scheduled to visit Pakistan this week which is expected to announce and investment of over $1 billion in various social sector development projects in the country.

According to official sources, the Chinese experts will be evaluating a number of social sector projects being proposed by all the provinces including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The ministry of Planning and Development, has already sought the proposals from the provinces for the Chinese grant.

“The ministry has started receiving list of the projects from provinces, which will be discussed and evaluated by both the Chinese and local experts. The $1 billion investment will be a grant from China under the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” the sources said.

Ahead of the meeting with Chinese experts, the Ministry of Planning and Development is expected to hold a meeting with all stakeholders on Monday, February 25, to scrutinize the proposals made by provinces. A priority list of projects will later be shared with the Chinese team, which is expected to visit Pakistan from February 26.

“The Chinese team will also hold separate meetings with representatives of provinces and concerned officials to discuss the provincial priorities in the social sector. As announced earlier, the Chinese side will extend grant of over $1 billion for the selected social sector development projects,” sources said.

As CPEC progresses, Pakistan is looking to attract investment in agriculture and social sectors, diversifying away from the energy sector, in which China has already made substantial investment.

China’s Ambassador in Islamabad Yao Jing had earlier said that CPEC was a long-term project, adding that the five years of work done on CPEC, was just the start of the journey towards achieving socio-economic development in the region.

He said that China, in consultation with the Government of Pakistan, had decided to enter the next phase of CPEC which would focus on investment, joint ventures, establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), engagement in the power sector as well as export-oriented cooperation. The Chinese Ambassador said that the second area of focus for cooperation in the next phase of CPEC was the social sector and the areas identified were education, health, agriculture, poverty reduction and human resources.

According to officials at the Ministry of Planning, during the last Joint Coordination Committee of CPEC held in Beijing the two countries had agreed to work for speedy implementation of initiatives in already identified six areas including agriculture, education, medical treatment, poverty alleviation, water supply and vocational training projects.

During the next 5 years, small projects will be the focus of attention under the CPEC, which include renovation of schools, innovation in hospital system, poverty reduction, model villages and supply of clean water for the public.

Riaz Haq said...

DFID
Pakistan
Location:PakistanPart of:Department for International Development
Find out how the UK will respond to opportunities and challenges, what is being achieved for the UK and who we are working with.

https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/dfid-pakistan

Helping to ensure a prosperous and stable Pakistan is critical for the future of millions of poor Pakistanis, and the stability and security of both the region and the UK. Almost a third of Pakistan’s population lives in poverty (over 60 million people), with women most seriously affected. 22.6 million children do not go to school and half of the population, including two thirds of women, cannot read or write. One in 11 children die before their fifth birthday, every year 9,700 women die in childbirth and 44% of children under 5 are stunted. Pakistan’s population is set to grow by 40 million people in the next 15 years and the economy needs to grow by more than 7% a year to create jobs for this growing young population. There is major inequality based on geography, gender, ethnicity, disability and faith and a significant modern slavery problem amongst the poor, minorities, women and children. Pakistan carries a high risk of natural disasters; it has the second highest number of refugees in the world and continues to suffer from extremism and militancy. Consolidating the growing democracy and capacity of government institutions remains essential.

Riaz Haq said...

Amjad Ali, #Karachi rickshaw driver, father of six daughters sending them all to school in #Pakistan. One of his daughter Muskan just won a scholarship to study at top #business school. #education #highereducation https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=2019062115073239

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1142580970215788544

In a country where many women are still discouraged from getting an education and are married off early, Amjad Ali, a father of six daughters, and a rickshaw driver, has broken the mould by sending his daughters to Karachi’s leading universities, reports Samaa TV.

“People often mocked and criticised me, saying that girls are bound to get married and move out and to stop wasting my hard-earned money on my daughters,” he said.

But one of his daughters, Muskan, recently received a scholarship from the Institute of Business Administration, which is one of the top business schools in the country. “It was one of the happiest days of my life,” he said. “Be it a son or a daughter, the right to education is equal for all,” he believes.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistani #Punjab’s social sectors get lion’s share in Rs. 350 billion ADP (Annual Development Program). 35% of it will be apportioned for south Punjab under the regional equalization policy to accelerate development in less developed areas. https://www.dawn.com/news/1488349

The PTI’s Punjab government on Friday announced its second budget improving the allocation for Annual Development Programme (ADP) 2019-20 to Rs350 billion from Rs238bn in the outgoing fiscal year.

Even this 47 per cent increase in the ADP fails to match the allocation of Rs635bn made by the Shahbaz Sharif government in 2017-18.

Presenting the budget in the Punjab Assembly on Friday, Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht said keeping in view of PTI’s stated priorities of social protection, human development and regional equalisation, a sum of Rs125bn, or 35.7pc of the total ADP, allocated for social sectors.

“Around 35pc of the ADP will be apportioned for south Punjab under the regional equalisation policy for bringing the less developed areas on a par with the developed ones,” he said.

Major initiatives in the ADP include expansion of health insurance scheme to all 36 districts, construction of four dams, taming of hill torrents at three sites, enhancing productivity of four main crops (wheat, rice, sugarcane, oilseed), establishment of four universities and 63 colleges, rural accessibility plan worth Rs15bn, infrastructure development of three large industrial estates, and setting up of model agriculture markets.

Among the social sector, education is the main beneficiary as a sum of Rs89.8bn has been earmarked for it, while health stands second with Rs47.5bn allowance. Water supply & sanitation will gain Rs22.4 billion, local governments Rs6.3bn, social welfare Rs1.0bn and women development Rs0.8bn.

The second major share of ADP goes to special initiatives with Rs65.35bn allocation. However, no explanation of the initiatives has been included in the budget documents.

Infrastructure development claims Rs87.7bn funds to stand at the third position. Of them roads construction will get Rs35bn, irrigation projects Rs23.4bn, urban development Rs13.5bn, public buildings Rs9.8bn, and energy Rs6.0bn.

Production sectors like agriculture, food, livestock, forestry and fisheries, industries, mines and minerals get Rs34.5bn. Of it an amount of Rs15.5bn is the share of agriculture, Rs7.5bn of industries and skills development, Rs3.4bn of forestry, Rs3.5bn for livestock & dairy development, and Rs1.5bn of tourism.

A sum of Rs20.6bn has been apportioned for services sectors. These included governance & IT (Rs6.0bn), labour and human resource development (Rs0.3bn), transport (Rs13.5bn), and emergency services (Rs0.8bn).

The Planning & Development Department and PSFP will get Rs14bn, environment and human rights Rs1bn each, information & culture and Auqaf Rs0.3bn each, and archaeology Rs0.35bn.

FOREIGN FUNDED: The ADP also includes 26 projects with foreign funding. The donors include the World Bank (12 projects), Asian Development Bank (three projects), DFID (three projects), and one each projects funded by AIIB, France, IFAD, Korea, China, and JICA.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's response to the #HIV outbreak in #Larkana has been fairly swift, involving various international agencies and provincial and federal governments. A new antiretroviral treatment (ART) clinic for children has been established in Larkana, #Sindh. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(19)30316-0/fulltext#.XRWlld77gBI.twitter

In 2018, a UNICEF report ranked Pakistan as the riskiest place to be born in the world. Numerous health indicators, particularly those related to maternal and child health, are worse in Pakistan than elsewhere in the south Asian region. Preventable communicable diseases remain a primary cause of morbidity and mortality in the country; a situation that can be attributed to many complex societal, political, and structural factors that lead to inadequate sanitation, unsafe drinking water, overcrowding, low socioeconomic status, and poor vaccination coverage. Health literacy is low and varies geographically and by sex: estimates from the country's 2017–18 Demographic and Health Survey suggest that as little as 32% of women and 67% of men in the country had ever heard of HIV/AIDS, with comprehensive knowledge of the disease limited to 4% and 10%, respectively. These findings are despite the Pakistani Government launching the NACP, an HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness programme, in 1986–87.
The reports of HIV epidemics in Pakistan linked to health providers (legitimate or not) have highlighted a potentially unappreciated source of the burden of bloodborne infections in the country, which has previously been attributed to transmission among the country's considerable population of injecting-drug users and sex workers. These reports are concerning for several reasons. First, they could indicate a worrying but potentially addressable knowledge gap in infection control processes and mechanisms of HIV transmission among health workers in Pakistan. Second, they could suggest a severe lapse in regulation of the country's health system, which allows people without appropriate training and certification to call themselves doctors. Third, they could lead to fear and mistrust of the health system, further exacerbating the country's health woes and putting health targets out of reach.

The response to the HIV outbreak in Larkana has been fairly swift, involving various international agencies and provincial and federal governments. A new antiretroviral treatment (ART) clinic for children has been established in Larkana, although how long these treatments will be available is unclear, with access to ART generally limited in the country. The UN in Pakistan is supporting the federal government to develop short-term and long-term plans for identifying and mitigating causes of the outbreak, including strengthening the continuum of care for HIV, promoting health education, and reducing stigma. However, it should not have taken this tragedy to spur action. The health authorities in Pakistan must at least now use it as a catalyst for change.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistani #education #startup SABAQ shortlisted for Siemens Foundation’s global award. The award recognizes and endorses low-cost #technologies providing vital services and solutions for daily needs in developing countries. #technology #Pakistan https://www.dawn.com/news/1490721

From a pool of 800 submissions from 86 countries, SABAQ is the only Pakistani startup to be among the 11 finalists for the empowering people Award (epAward) 2019 by the Siemens Foundation. The startup will be competing with other finalists for the Top 3 spots in Cairo next month.

The award recognises and endorses low-cost technologies providing vital services and solutions for daily needs in developing regions. Projects submitted are examined on their technical functionality, local adaptability, social impact, team structure, and financial and business sustainability.

In the next round, the finalists will present their enterprise in front of a multi-disciplinary international jury panel and a relevant audience from the international and Egyptian ecosystem, pitching their business concept and impact.

The jury will determine the winners of the competition, announcing the first prize of 50,000 Euros, the second prize of 30,000 Euros and third prize for 20,000 Euros.

Additionally, the runners-up will be awarded 10,000 Euros each. A Special WASH Award of 20,000 Euros will also be awarded.

The Community Prize of 10,000 Euros will be given to the solution receiving maximum online votes. If you wish to vote for a project to help it win the Community Prize, click here.

.SABAQ's flagship application, Muse, has led to improved learning outcomes for several primary grade students. — Photo courtesy: SABAQ
“SABAQ is extremely honoured to represent Pakistan on this prestigious international platform. Previously this year, we were selected as the Top 6 Global EdTech startup at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai. We also took home the Transformers Roadshow Prize by the Islamic Development Bank in May. Now, being nominated for the Siemens Foundation global award greatly motivates us to continue our mission of revamping Pakistan’s education system and helping all children in Pakistan get access to quality education through our technology," SABAQ’s co-founder and CEO Hassan Bin Rizwan said.

"Our journey so far has been only been possible through hard work and an unwavering dedication to build a better future for our children. We now need the Pakistani community to come forward and vote for us in our mission of educating every Pakistani child,” he said.

Founded in 2015, SABAQ is an education technology initiative that has reached 100,000 children in low-cost and low resource environments till date.

Its flagship application, Muse, has led to improved learning outcomes for primary grade students.

Muse has also helped increase access to education technology for low-cost public and private schools in Pakistan, which are otherwise deprived of such resources.

To date, Muse has been used in 1,000 schools across Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Every third child is underweight in Pakistan: survey

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1989494/1-every-third-child-underweight-pakistan-survey/

The National Nutrition Survey 2018-19 has painted a bleak picture of children’s health, stating that “every third child” in the country “is underweight”.

The survey was released on Monday during a ceremony chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza and attended by Health Secretary Zahid Saeed, National AIDS Control Programme Manager Dr Basir Achakzai, Unicef representative and others.

The survey was compiled by experts working under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and Unicef.

The report stated, “Breast-feeding has increased in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), while malnutrition in Balochistan and erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).”

It stated, “Every four out of 10 children are malnourished. Over 40% children are affected by malnutrition in which the number of girls is higher than that of boys.”

Giving the break-up of the malnourished children, the report stated, “In the country, 40.9% boys are malnourished, while 39.4% girls are victims of malnutrition and 28% are underweight.

“Over 9% children are overweight. During the last seven years, the number of overweight children has doubled as in 2011 only 5% children were overweight while now the ratio stands at 9.5%. About 50% girls in Pakistan suffer from anemia while 48.4 % children are given mother’s milk. The ratio of children being fed mother’s milk stands at over 60% in K-P.

“In Pakistan, 36.9% of the population face malnutrition. In Balochistan, 50% people are malnourished while in erstwhile Fata the ratio is 54.6%.”

Addressing the ceremony, Health Adviser Dr Zafar Mirza said, “In line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Ministry of Health is taking drastic measures to overcome malnutrition.”
Mirza said, “The data obtained from the survey will help in policy making and devising strategies.”

He said they would join hands with the provinces in taking effective steps in the field of nutrition in light of the data obtained.

“The incumbent government has already decided to tackle the biggest issue – undernourishment, especially in women and children,” said the PM’s aide, adding that the national survey had revealed that 40% children under the age of five were victims of stunting.

Mirza acknowledged the fact that positive signs regarding more women feeding their milk to their newborns were received. “About 10% improvement has been recorded in mothers feeding their children their own milk.”

Mirza said, “The ratio of people consuming clean water has increased, whereas only 21% water has been found fit for consumption.”
He said information and steps regarding women giving birth had improved. “About 63% women come to clinics when they are pregnant, while 68% avail the expertise of experts, which has reduced the ratio of death among newborns,” said Mirza.

About anemia, Mirza said, “Several women and children suffer from this condition. It has been reported that over 50% children suffer from anemia, while 62% lack Vitamin A.”

He said that there had been an increase in the consumption of iodine salt, which “is a positive sign”.

https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/National%20Nutrition%20Survey%202018%20-%20Key%20findings.pdf

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan bringing services closer to communities affected by the #HIV outbreak. #UNICEF is refurbishing the pediatric HIV treatment centre at Taluka Headquarters hospital in Rotadero, #Larkana #Sindh https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/featurestories/2019/july/20190703_Pakistan

A newly refurbished paediatric centre is to open in Ratodero, Pakistan, to serve families affected by the recent HIV outbreak in the district of Larkana. It is expected that the centre will be operational by mid-July.

Alia (not her real name), the mother of a two-year old girl, lives in the village of Mirpur Bhutto, in Ratodero Taluka in Larkana district. Alia’s world has been turned upside down since her family was caught up in the HIV outbreak in the area.

“My daughter was diagnosed with HIV just a few days ago, but she became so weak so quickly. She couldn’t eat anything we gave to her,” says Alia. After Sameera’s (not her real name) diagnosis, she was referred to Sheikh Zayed Children Hospital in Larkana to start antiretroviral therapy. The hospital is more than 50 kilometres away from the family home.

“I got these dispersible tablets for Sameera and some fever medicine, and since she started her treatment, I have seen some improvements in my daughter’s health. Her fever has gone and before there was diarrhoea from which she also recovered,” explains Sameera’s mother.

Alia’s husband is a farmer and earns less than two dollars a day. “We can hardly support our family of ten members,” she explains.

Poor road conditions and economic constraints make it difficult for Alia and her daughter to travel from their village to the district capital Larkana, currently the nearest health facility where her daughter can receive the treatment she needs.

Since the HIV outbreak was first reported in Larkana at the end of April, UNAIDS, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Sindh AIDS Control Programme and other partners have been calling for a new paediatric treatment centre in Ratodero to bring HIV services closer to the affected communities. As a result of these efforts and in the framework of the “Sindh HIV Outbreak Response Plan, May 2019-Apr 2020,” UNICEF is refurbishing the paediatric HIV treatment centre at Taluka Headquarters hospital in Rotadero, ensuring that treatment will be available in the area where Alia and her daughter live. When the new centre opens, HIV treatment services for Sameera will be less than 10 kilometres away.

“I know my Sameera will be fine and that she will get married and have children. This is what the doctor told me. For this to happen she must continue her treatment forever. I will follow the doctor’s instructions because this is what will save my daughter’s life,” says Alia.

By the end of June, 877 people had been newly diagnosed with HIV in the Larkana district. More than 80% of the new cases are among children aged under 15 years old. A total of 721 people had already been registered in care programmes and 482 people (365 of them children under the age of 15) were on treatment.

“UNAIDS is working closely with the government, civil society organizations, the association of people living with HIV, UN agencies and all other partners to ensure that both the immediate response to the HIV outbreak and longer-term programmatic measures will be implemented and sustained,” said Maria Elena Borromeo, UNAIDS Country Director for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Last Resort: #India and #Pakistan's Informal #Schools. The stories of struggle by children of marginalized communities in India and Pakistan have an uncanny resemblance. When governments fail, people rise to help their communities. #education@Diplomat_APAC http://thediplomat.com/2019/07/last-resort-india-and-pakistans-informal-schools/

Pooja is enrolled at a small makeshift school with a frail structure and temporary ceiling that shivers when strong winds blow.

“I want to become a teacher,” she says in a brittle voice.

Her face glows with joy every time she talks about her school. Pooja’s school is no ordinary school. She receives education at a mobile school.

Across the Radcliffe line in Maripur, Karachi, approximately, 1,000 kilometers away from Pooja, lives Roshail Atta Mahommad. The 17-year-old’s life has an uncanny resemblance to Pooja’s situation. She too has defied all social and cultural odds for education. Roshail, like Pooja, wants to become a teacher and contribute to her community’s well-being.

Even after 70 years of independence, millions of children in India and Pakistan are deprived of education. Both countries are confronting the perils of their failure to educate their citizens, notably the poor. Pooja and Roshail are among the deprived generation who were left out of the state-run education system in their respective countries.

The two may be divided by the border, but they are united by the failure of their governments to fulfill their basic fundamental right to education.


For decades governments in India have made tall symbolic promises about improving the state of education in India. They’ve conceived policies and plans that have been nothing more than toothless paper tigers. The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP)-led government in Delhi has slashed education spending by nearly 50 percent in the last 4 years. Such misplaced national priorities deprive many like Pooja of education — a promised universal birthright.

Echoes of similar hollow political promises are also responsible for the burgeoning education crisis in Pakistan.

The two nuclear rivals inherited innumerable common issues. Education is one of them. In many ways their approaches to the issue have been similar too. The two arch-rivals have identical laws that ensure free and compulsory education but little has been done to implement them. The Right to Education Act, 2009 (RTE) in India recognizes free and compulsory education for children between the age of 6 and 14, under Article 21a of the Indian Constitution. Similarly, in Pakistan Article 25-A of the constitution guarantees the right to free education to all children between the ages of 5 to 16. The right to education was enacted, in both countries, with the idea to improve the state of education, but it has been haunted by procedural inefficiencies.

---

The Heroes
When governments fail to deliver fundamental rights, people rise to help their communities. Sandeep Rajput in India and Gamwar Baloch in Pakistan are two such heroes.

The mobile school, run by Rajput, 41, is a free education facility on wheels. Rajput is known for chasing illiteracy in decrepit areas of Gurgaon in an old public bus. The decommissioned vehicle, once used by commuters, is now reconfigured to serve as a classroom on wheels. It is equipped with small tables and everything else a teacher might need to run a classroom. Rajput’s school on wheels, as it’s commonly known, is also recognized by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

Like Rajput, Pakistan too has a warrior, who fights against an unfair educational system. In 2013, Gamwar Baloch, 21, established a makeshift school named “Tikri Education Center.” The school provides free education to the deprived students in Maripur — a neighborhood of Kiamari town in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi. Baloch helps those who have been neglected by the state and are at the very bottom of Pakistan’s social ladder.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan is leading the way with its #welfare state – the world can learn from its innovation. "Ehsaas", meaning empathy, launched by #ImranKhanPrimeMinister, is the most comprehensive welfare program ever undertaken by any government https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/climate-and-people/pakistan-leading-way-welfare-state-world-can-learn-innovation/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_tw via @Telegraph

..Pakistan, for example, establishing a programme of Lady Health Workers. Health improvement starts in the community and if you tackle challenges at the source, whether it be health, education or skills training, it will have major health and economic benefits later. The community health worker model has been so successful that many years later it was picked up in high-income countries with New York, for example, now having a well-established network.

This community-based approach allows health, education and other social issues to be tackled together in a holistic fashion. Girls and boys who are healthy, for example, are more likely to get a good education and go on to be productive members of society and live healthy lives. The strongest systems work across sectors, breaking through barriers to drive programmes and solutions that touch on health, education, economic livelihoods and beyond.

This is why we should all be looking with particular interest at the work underway in Pakistan to build a sustainable welfare state. Called Ehsaas, which in Urdu literally means ‘empathy’, the new initiative is one of the most comprehensive welfare programmes ever undertaken by a national government, with an underlying ambition to create a social safety net for Pakistan that could transform the lives of millions. It is enormously wide-ranging and ambitious.

---------------

Ehsaas is seeking to end the cycle of poverty faced by many Pakistanis. Acknowledging that no single area will unlock this ambition alone, Ehsaas encompasses 134 policies that range from tackling corruption to creating educational opportunities to providing the elderly with decent homes.

The programme is led by Dr Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, who has been mandated by Prime Minister Imran Khan to work in partnership across multiple federal ministries that these policies will be driven by, as well with provincial governments who have devolved powers including on education and health. Without a multisectoral approach, it would not be possible to create the welfare state envisioned by Ehsaas.

The launch of a countrywide public consultation was particularly important as it was the first time a public policy in Pakistan had been developed in this way and demonstrates a new level of openness and transparency. Ehsaas’s impact will hopefully go much further than the borders of Pakistan. It will provide many lessons for low-, middle- and high-income countries.

------------

We should seek to learn from the innovative approaches that Ehsaas plans to take to lift children out of poverty, to ensure girls get the same shot as boys in school and to ensure that millions of young people have both the skills training and a social safety net. This includes empowering the most marginalized women through the latest mobile technology and monitoring school attendance using biometric identification.

There is a long road ahead to achieve the ambitions set out in the Ehsaas programme, which is still in its infancy. Whatever the eventual outcome, it is encouraging to see a country with Pakistan’s potential setting its ambitions so high. As with the community health worker system that turned global health on its head, the breaking down of silos is a vital step in building a welfare state in Pakistan but also provides a blueprint for how other countries can ensure essential services for all.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan is leading the way with its #welfare state – the world can learn from its innovation. "Ehsaas", meaning empathy, launched by #ImranKhanPrimeMinister, is the most comprehensive welfare program ever undertaken by any government https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/climate-and-people/pakistan-leading-way-welfare-state-world-can-learn-innovation/?WT.mc_id=tmg_share_tw via @Telegraph

..Pakistan, for example, establishing a programme of Lady Health Workers. Health improvement starts in the community and if you tackle challenges at the source, whether it be health, education or skills training, it will have major health and economic benefits later. The community health worker model has been so successful that many years later it was picked up in high-income countries with New York, for example, now having a well-established network.

This community-based approach allows health, education and other social issues to be tackled together in a holistic fashion. Girls and boys who are healthy, for example, are more likely to get a good education and go on to be productive members of society and live healthy lives. The strongest systems work across sectors, breaking through barriers to drive programmes and solutions that touch on health, education, economic livelihoods and beyond.

This is why we should all be looking with particular interest at the work underway in Pakistan to build a sustainable welfare state. Called Ehsaas, which in Urdu literally means ‘empathy’, the new initiative is one of the most comprehensive welfare programmes ever undertaken by a national government, with an underlying ambition to create a social safety net for Pakistan that could transform the lives of millions. It is enormously wide-ranging and ambitious.

---------------

Ehsaas is seeking to end the cycle of poverty faced by many Pakistanis. Acknowledging that no single area will unlock this ambition alone, Ehsaas encompasses 134 policies that range from tackling corruption to creating educational opportunities to providing the elderly with decent homes.

The programme is led by Dr Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, who has been mandated by Prime Minister Imran Khan to work in partnership across multiple federal ministries that these policies will be driven by, as well with provincial governments who have devolved powers including on education and health. Without a multisectoral approach, it would not be possible to create the welfare state envisioned by Ehsaas.

The launch of a countrywide public consultation was particularly important as it was the first time a public policy in Pakistan had been developed in this way and demonstrates a new level of openness and transparency. Ehsaas’s impact will hopefully go much further than the borders of Pakistan. It will provide many lessons for low-, middle- and high-income countries.

------------

We should seek to learn from the innovative approaches that Ehsaas plans to take to lift children out of poverty, to ensure girls get the same shot as boys in school and to ensure that millions of young people have both the skills training and a social safety net. This includes empowering the most marginalized women through the latest mobile technology and monitoring school attendance using biometric identification.

There is a long road ahead to achieve the ambitions set out in the Ehsaas programme, which is still in its infancy. Whatever the eventual outcome, it is encouraging to see a country with Pakistan’s potential setting its ambitions so high. As with the community health worker system that turned global health on its head, the breaking down of silos is a vital step in building a welfare state in Pakistan but also provides a blueprint for how other countries can ensure essential services for all.

Riaz Haq said...

All You Need to Know About PM Imran Khan’s Poverty Alleviation Program ‘Ehsas’

https://propakistani.pk/2019/04/13/all-you-need-to-know-about-pm-imran-khans-poverty-alleviation-program-ehsas/

What is Ehsas?
Ehsas is Pakistan’s biggest and boldest program for poverty eradication which aims to collaborate with all stakeholders—public, private, civil society, philanthropists, and expatriate Pakistanis towards one collective goal – poverty alleviation. The Poverty Alleviation Coordination Council, chaired by Dr. Sania Nishtar, developed the program after extensive consultation. It aims to change the lives of at least 3.3 million poor people in the next four years.

PM Khan has allocated a massive amount of Rs. 80 billion –expendable to Rs. 120 billion by 2021 – for his anti-poverty derive which, according to him, is founded on the importance of strengthening institutions, transparency, and good governance.

Following these necessary steps, Imran vowed to convert Pakistan into a welfare state where jobless, poor farmers and laborers, the sick and undernourished, lower-middle-class students, poor widows, and helpless elderly citizens are well taken care of. The program targets not only the underprivileged but also aims to provide them with the means to uplift their social status.

Welfare State
Pakistan is currently in Elite capture –where public resources are meant for a few families from the elite class. He wants to break the shackles by spending public money on the general public. The program Ehsas aims to empower the women economically; focus on the role of human capital formation for poverty alleviation, economic growth, and sustainable development.

The Four Pillars of Ehsas
According to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement, his poverty eradication drive is grounded on four fundamental pillars: countering elite capture and making the government system work to create equality; safety nets for disadvantaged segments of the population; jobs and livelihoods; and human capital development.

In the following lines, we’ll discuss all four pillars of Ehsas in detail.

I. Countering Elite Capture & Inequality of System

The first and foremost part of this anti-poverty campaign is combatting the elite capture and inequity in the system which provides all the necessary facilities to the privileged only – be it tax relief, water distribution, crop choices, law & order, land use priorities and much more.

To cater all these issues, Khan plans to introduce a new Constitutional amendment to move article 38(d) from the “Principles of Policy” section into the “Fundamental Rights” section – this minor tweak will make the provision of food, clothing, housing, education, and medical relief for citizens who cannot earn a livelihood due to infirmity, sickness or unemployment, a state responsibility.

Secondly, he aims to increase social protection spending. In the fiscal year 2019-20 – an additional amount of Rs. 80 billion will be added to the social protection spending, which will increase to Rs. 120 billion in the next fiscal year.

By digitizing the data of the poor class, the government aims to collaborate with pro-poor organizations to help needy. It is also going to earmark resources for pro-poor sectors to prevent channeling of funds to other sectors through ad hoc decision-making.

He said that a one-window social protection operation would be conducted to avoid any duplication and abuse.

Pakistan’s first ever official report on multidimensional poverty was released in 2016, and it revealed shocking figures. According to the study, 39 percent (38.8%) of Pakistanis live in multidimensional poverty, while 24.4 percent of those don’t even have enough money to satisfy their basic needs.

To facilitate all of them, the government needs a database – and for this purpose, the government is establishing the National Socioeconomic Registry 2019 which will make the database of the poor class. Multiple validation procedures will be run for the collected data through follow-up review surveys to identify the real poor correctly.


Riaz Haq said...

All You Need to Know About PM Imran Khan’s Poverty Alleviation Program ‘Ehsas’

https://propakistani.pk/2019/04/13/all-you-need-to-know-about-pm-imran-khans-poverty-alleviation-program-ehsas/

Once the data is completed, the government will roll out two social protection programs Kifalat (sponsorship or support) and Tahaffuz (protection). Both programs will be run through the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).


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Kifalat: Under the program, 5.7 million women across the country will get savings accounts in the nearby banks on one woman one bank account policy. The women of impoverished areas, without the bank facilities, will be given mobile phones to receive the funds.

As many as 5000 ‘Digital Hubs’ will be established on Tehsil level all over the country which will provide details about job opportunities for the local youth and will make the government’s digital resources accessible.

Tahaffuz: Tahaffuz or Protection will provide one-time financial aid to the poor against catastrophic events. This may aid interest-free easy loans for house-building (especially for landless farmers), free legal assistance in severe cases, financial aid for widows who don’t have children earning money, Ehsas homes for orphan children, Panah-gahs for homeless people, Sehat Card for 3.3 million people.

Welfare for Elderly: An increment in the Old Age Benefit and minimum pension for elderly citizens, the establishment of Great Ehsas Homes (Old Age Homes) through Bait-ul-Maal.

Government Increases Old-Age Pension By 20 Percent | propakistani.pk
Labour Welfare: Creation of a labor expert group to provide its recommendations to address the following labor-related issues: loopholes in the existing laws which either keep the workers out of jobs or pay them poorly. The group will suggest amendments in the rules for minimum wage, and health and safety regulations, welfare and pension schemes for the informal sector.

Overseas Pakistanis

In a statement during a formal dinner with Saudi Royal Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Prime Minister Imran Khan requested him to take care of the Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia and said:

Please take very good care of my people (in the Kingdom). They leave their families and everything behind to work abroad. They are very near to my heart.

His statement is reflected in the Ehsas program which suggests policy making for the welfare of overseas Pakistanis. The program aims to increase the number of community Welfare Attaches and Protector of Immigrants Officers to facilitate the expatriates. It will also involve well-reputed and well-off expatriates to facilitate the working class Pakistanis abroad.

It includes policy making to allow free or subsidized air tickets to low-paid workers and productive negotiations with the governments to extend the duration of the working permit for unskilled labors as they hardly recover the cost of immigration their permit’s duration ends.

III. Human Capital Development
poor children pakistan
Human capital development plays a significant role in the wealth of a nation and requires prioritizing investments in the early years by controlling malnutrition, providing preschool or early education and protecting children from harm.

This will help against stunting in children by providing de-worming drugs, iron, folic acid, micronutrient supplements through government hospitals. Besides setting up a Multi-sectoral Nutrition Coordinating Body and the first-ever university-hosted National Centre for Human Nutrition, it also includes the 5+1 model of desi chicken and goat asset transfer, kitchen gardening, seed distribution for poverty alleviation and nutrition.