Major step towards universal health coverage in Pakistan

A Lady Health Worker gives polio vaccine drops to a child at a colony in Islamabad, Dec 20, 2012
Reuters
A Lady Health Worker gives polio vaccine drops to a child at a colony in Islamabad, Dec 20, 2012

21 January 2013 | Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf recently approved the regularization of services of over 100’000 Lady Health Workers (LHWs). This move marks a significant step towards increasing the outreach and delivery of health care in the rural and urban slums areas of the country. Their regularization means an official recognition of their cadre and ensures the Federal Government funding of the programme until 2015, and sets a proposal for its long-term sustainability thereafter.

This move is a big win for the LHWs, who have been claiming to get this recognition of their services for several years and who have recently held a number of demonstrations in Islamabad.

“We are glad and proud to see Pakistan recognizing the Lady Health Workers as integral part of a strengthened national health system” said Alliance Executive Director Dr Mubashar Sheikh. He added: “this measure will ensure better working conditions which in return will contribute to expanding health care outreach and improving the population’s health outcomes.”

The LHWs programme was initiated in 1994 as part of the Programme for Family Planning and Primary Care led by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. It is deeply rooted in the communities and primary health care in an effort to bridge the rural/urban disparities.

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