CM orders inclusion of poverty-stricken mothers of Karachi in social protection program

KARACHI: Caretaker Sindh Chief Minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar has directed the Social Protection Dept to develop and efficiently implement an overarching need-driven and rights-based cross-sectoral social protection strategy for the poverty-stricken districts, including katchiabadies and slum areas of Karachi.

“The poverty ratio in the katchiabadis, slum areas, and rural areas of Karachi is equally higher as of the rural areas of the province, therefore Karachi must be included in the social protection program,” according to a statement issued from CH House on Monday.

He issued these directives while presiding over a meeting of the Social Protection Dept to review its progress at the Cm House. The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Dr. Fakhre Alam, Vice Chairman Social Protection Board Haris Gazdar, Chairman P and D Shakeel Manijo, PSCM Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Finance Kazim Jatoi, Haris Gazdar, CEO Social Protection, Samiullah Shaikh.

Vice Chairman Haris Gazdar and CEO Samiullah Shaikh briefed the caretaker chief minister about the department and its program launched by the government.

The CM was told that under the Sindh Social Protection Strategy an effective Management Information System (MIS) for the social registry has been developed. Under the program two feasibility studies – Food Security – Bhook Mitao- program and the Benazir Women Agriculture Workers program have been conducted.

Mother and Child Support: Mother and Child Support Program (MCSP) and Nutrition conditional cash transfer has been launched. The program in being implemented as a pilot MCSP in two districts- Tharparkar and Umerkot to enable uptake of maternal and child health services by vulnerable rural women.

The Pilot program was initiated in May 2021 in four UCs and was scaled up to cover the entire districts of Tharparkar and Umerkot in May 2022.

The CM was told that MIS has been established where 62,000 pregnant women have been enrolled and Rs165 million have been disbursed.

The meeting was told that a Rs48,300 million project for the Social Protection Delivery System has been launched with the assistance of the World Bank. The health partners including PPHI and the health department have started the services.

The Strengthening Social Protection Delivery System has two components.

Under the first Component, the task is to establish an appropriate institutional framework to improve formulation, functional consolidation and coordination, policy planning, delivery, and monitoring of social protection interventions while also strengthening administrative capacities.

The second component is the ‘Mother and Child Support Program’ (MCSP) includes the strengthening and increasing scale of the Mother and Child Support Program via conditional cash transfer to pregnant women and mothers of under 2-year-old children encouraging them to utilize maternal, newborn, and child healthcare (MNCH) services throughout the continuum of care for 1,000 days from conception.

It is a 60-month (January 2023 to Dec 2027) program, predominantly rural districts of the province, prioritizing those with the highest MPI Scores (poorest), the CM was told.

The CM said that he would chair the board meeting of Social Protection next week to further strengthen the social protection prioritize program.