Australian High Commission

Australia-UK Press Release

British High Commission, Islamabad
Australian High Commission, Islamabad
Press Release
19 May 2008

The UK and Australia join forces to improve mother and child health in Pakistan

The UK and Australia today signed up to a new agreement on maternal and child health that will save the lives of at least 30,000 women and 350,000 children across Pakistan. This Government of Pakistan led health plan could improve the health and quality of life of 10 million families across Pakistan.

The new initiative, backed by RS 11.7 billion from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) over the next five years and RS 2 billion from the Australian Government, will mean that 12,000 community midwives are able to attend births and that obstetric and newborn care is strengthened in all district hospitals throughout the country.

Every year 25,000 women in Pakistan die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth and only one third of all births are attended by skilled personnel.

The UK/Australia deal will pool resources into the plan which will prevent serious ill health and disability for 3.5 million women. It aims to reduce the number of children that die before the age of five, currently around half a million.

Shahid Malik, UK Minister for International Development said:

“The number of women and babies dying in Pakistan from a lack of basic medical care is amongst the highest in the world. Many of these deaths could be prevented if mothers received the necessary skilled care during labour and when complications occur.

“The UK government is committed to improving the quality of health care for pregnant women and babies in Pakistan. Today’s announcement will mean that 12,000 midwives will be available to attend births, improving the care that babies and their mothers receive.”

The Australian High Commissioner in Pakistan, HE Zorica McCarthy added:

“By working together and coordinating our efforts, we increase the effectiveness of our aid. Partnerships like this are an important part of the effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in Pakistan. This announcement is reflective of Australia’s growing aid program and our strong commitment to Pakistan’s development.”

Mr. Khushnood Lashari, Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Pakistan said

“The Ministry of Health welcomes this partnership between DFID as the major donor in health in Pakistan, and Australia as the most recent donor to the sector. Such joint funding will contribute to efficient use of donor aid, supporting Pakistan in its efforts to address maternal and child deaths and illness.”

Notes to Editors

1. The Department for International Development (DFID) is the UK Government department and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) the Australian government agency responsible for promoting sustainable development and reducing poverty. The central focus of DFID and AusAID is a commitment to the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015.

2. DFID and AusAID’s objectives in Pakistan are to work in partnership with the Government of Pakistan, provincial Governments, the international community and other donors to bring enduring and sustainable benefits to the poor.

3. DFID and AusAID’s priorities are around helping to improve incomes of the poor and the delivery of education and health services as well as to increase the accountability of the state to its citizens.

4. In November 2006, the UK and Pakistan signed a 10-year Development Partnership Arrangement and the UK announced a doubling of aid to Pakistan to £480 million for the period 2008-2011.

5. Australia will provide an estimated $25 million in development assistance to Pakistan in 2007-08 and plans to significantly increase its aid program in future years.


For further information, please contact:
DFID Pakistan Head of Communications on 051 201 2536

For further information about the British High Commission and Britain is available at and about DFID at

Information about the Australian High Commission is available at and about AusAID at