Malnutrition and lack of health facilities killing two children every day in Tharparkar

Press release (19 April 2019): Hari Welfare Association (HWA) regrets that in 101 days from 1st January to 11th April 2019, 244 children under five years old have died in Tharparkar region. Average 2.4 children are dying on every single day. HWA stated that since January 2015 to 11 April 2019, 2229 children have been reported dead because of malnutrition, hunger and lack of medical services in rural parts of the region. In the year, 658 children had died- meaning an average of two children died per day just because of malnutrition, lack of health services and nutritional support by the Provincial Government of Sindh. Unfortunately, each year, the number of deaths of children is increasing. In 2015, the average 1.1 children died on the single day of the year that continuously increased in the last four years, which has reached to average 2.4 deaths of children per day in 2019. 

Year Media reported total deaths of children Per day average
2019 (Jan to April 11) 244 2.4
2018 658 1.8
2017 450 1.2
2016 479 1.3
2015 398 1.1
2014 650  1.7

HWA also regretted that the Chief Justice of Sindh High Court’s judicial actions and inquiry in March 2017 on the poor quality of water in Sindh also in Tharparkar, and in December 2018, the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s visit of the region could not halt the continual deaths of children. The Government of Sindh’s claim to provide food and infrastructure for clean drinking water have proved only false claims after the visit of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The quality of water filter plants in the region is unsatisfactory instead have added more troubles to malnourished children. HWA regrets that malnourished children could not succumb to water-borne diseases results of unhealthy water collected from water filter plants.

In March 2017, the judicial commission on the orders of Sindh High Court had submitted the report on the quality of water in all regions including in Tharparkar. The report said that out of 28 water samples collected from Tharparkar, 64 per cent (18 samples) were unsafe for human consumptions. HWA feels that it is a total failure of the Government of Sindh which has remained in power for around 12 years but each year children keep dying. In 2017, approximately 520 children were reported dead. In 2017, the provincial department of health admitted before the  High Court of Sindh that between January 2014 and May 2017, 1,340 children had died in Tharparkar. Most of them were underweight children below five years of age. HWA feels that the death toll is more than the shared and reported number. HWA also indicated that out of 517 around 332 posts of specialist doctors, surgeons and other experts were lying vacant in the district that included six posts of gynaecologists eight posts of child specialist/doctors. Also, 168 out of 658 posts of lab technicians were also vacant. HWA demanded that the Government of Sindh should own people and children of the region by ensuring their survival and protection and should declare an emergency in the Tharparkar region. It should improve the quality of the existing water filter plants and create more livelihood opportunities for poor people in rural areas of Tharparkar.