Paediatrician receives a million-dollar grant

Pakistan-based paediatrician Anita Zaidi received a grant of one million dollars to combat infant and child mortality in one of the villages in the south of the country, becoming the first winner of The Caplow Children's Prize.

This was reported on the official website of the award, established in January 2013 by the engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Caplow in order to "save the maximum number of children's lives, possible for a million dollars."

People from all over the world may apply for the grant - they have to offer through the Internet a most efficient way of using the money and explain how many children under the age of five they can save from death for this amount.

Application of Anita Zaidi, the head of the Paediatrics Department in the clinic at Aga Khan University in Karachi, was recognized as the best among 550 other projects received from 70 countries.

Zaidi plan aims to reduce infant and child mortality in Ryori Goth fishing village near Karachi. In this village, 106 out of every thousand children are dying before they reach the age of five; this is more than twice the average level of child mortality in the world, which according to UNICEF 2011 data is 51 per thousand.

Usually, women in this region, a home to about 40,000 people, have no access to health care during pregnancy. There is no hospital and the babies are usually delivered by people with no medical training, said Zaidi in her video application.

In case of birth complications, a child dies before the mother can be helped. Zaidi has been working in the area in various health-related projects for the past ten years and is well aware of the situation.

She plans to spend the grant to improve the nutrition of pregnant women, new mothers and their babies, to organize primary medical examination and vaccination of new-borns, as well as training of a group of local females for midwifery.

At least twice pregnant women will pass a medical examination; they are planned to get multivitamins and, if they are malnourished, food help.

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