Pakistan: Walk-in clinics help revive health services after 2011 floods

31 Jul 2012

Doctor and health worker treating women and children at mobile clinic set up by Integrated Health Services in Khalifa Abdul Ghani, District Shaheed Benazirabad. Credit: IHS/Sajjad Hussain
Emergency funding helps a local NGO provide women and children with critical medical care in Sindh Province

Nine months ago, in September 2011, devastating floods in southern Pakistan ruined basic infrastructure and key medical facilities in Shaheed Benazirabad District, Sindh Province, leaving thousands of people without health services.

Suleh Bibi, 25, was in the final stretch of her pregnancy, but she was unable to access prenatal services as the floods had damaged the village health centre. Many people in Bibi’s village desperately needed medical attention, as they were suffering from waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria and skin problems.
In response, the OCHA-managed Emergency Response Fund gave more than US$146,000 to local NGO Integrated Health System (IHS). With the funding, IHS set up mobile health units in the district, organized walk-in clinics and engaged local health workers to encourage the community to attend the clinics.  
During the first day-long clinic, IHS treated some 100 patients in the village, distributed health and hygiene kits, and conducted a health-education session on safe delivery, newborn health, and other critical health and hygiene issues.
“After a medical examination, I received multi-vitamins, folic acid and other necessary medicines,” Bibi said. “I also received items such as gloves, towels and soap for safer delivery, as well as health and hygiene supplies.” 
During her delivery day, Bibi had to have a surgical procedure to enable easier delivery. Unfortunately, she developed an infection afterwards but had no money to seek treatment. She had to wait for the next IHS clinic in her village. 
“When the IHS doctors came again, they gave me special attention. They treated me and advised me how to maintain good hygiene,” she said.
Two weeks later, the team visited the village again to follow up on Bibi’s case. “I was much better by the time they returned. They gave me more medicine and said I would be fine in a few days. And I was. Now I have fully recovered,” Bibi said with a smile. 
The mobile health team also attended to Bibi’s family. “They examined my children and provided them with vitamin drops and other medicines. They also gave us water-treatment tablets,” said the mother of three.
Bibi would like her youngest child to become a doctor and support similar public health-care initiatives in her community. 
Reporting by Emergency Response Fund Pakistan

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