Pakistan: funding health care in the aftermath of the floods

11 Jan 2012

Mai Rasheeda Qambrani and her children at home in Pakistan's Sindh Province. CREDIT: OCHA
OCHA’s Emergency Response Fund helps save lives in Pakistan’s Sindh Province

In October 2011, as large parts of Pakistan’s Sindh Province lay devastated by flooding, Mai Rasheeda Qambrani was in severe pain.

She was in the last month of pregnancy - her sixth in 10 years - but Rasheeda had not experienced any baby movements for a week. She needed urgent medical attention.

Her husband, Arbab Ali Qambrani, rushed her to Taluka Hospital, in Sindh’s Baledai Union Council. She was immediately admitted for surgery.

Medical staff found that Rasheeda’s baby had died in her womb.

Taluka Hospital, run by Muslim Aid, had recently been strengthened with a US$420,000 grant from OCHA’s Emergency Response Fund (ERF), a mechanism to provide rapid and flexible funds at the onset of an emergency.

The grant allowed Muslim Aid to provide better primary and mother-and-child health care by purchasing essential medical supplies and improving health facilities. It was able to provide free medical care to people affected by the floods.

The upgraded hospital was the only option available to Rasheeda, as private health care was too expensive. She had received no prenatal health care during her pregnancy. “We are poor. My husband is a daily-wage labourer and it’s hard to make the ends meet,” she said.

“We went to Taluka Hospital hoping the humanitarian aid workers there would help us in our time of need. I found many women waiting for treatment at the hospital, but since my case was serious, they urgently attended to me.”

The hospital staff pulled out all the stops to save Rasheeda’s life, and put her on the path to recovery.

“We lost our baby, but that was the will of Allah (God). Thankfully, proper medical attention saved my wife’s life,” said Mr. Qambrani. “I am relieved we got to the hospital in time to save her life.”

Reporting by the Public Information team in OCHA-Pakistan

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