Monday, May 25, 2009

Responding to IDPs in Northwest Frontier Province

While war wages around them, Frontier Primary Health Care (FPHC) struggles to assist in mitigating the impact of the disaster on women and children.

Frontier Primary Health Care is a small Pakistani NGO, working with 200,000 people at 14 separate sites in four districts in Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan. They have a number of Canadian partners including the Hillman Medical Education Fund, Rose Charities and Society of Rural Physicians of Canada.

FPHC works in ten Afghan refugee camps and the surrounding Pakistani communities providing the full range of primary health care at the cost of $2 per person per ye
ar. FPHC have also had some experience in responding to disasters with the recent quakes and floods in the region.

Northwest Frontier Province has been swamped with more than 2 million internally displaced people (IDP), according to the UN. It is one of the most extensive migrations of IDPs on the planet as people take flight from intensive US and Pakistani bombing, drone attacks and fires in Swat, Bajaur, Lower Dir and Buner districts. Fleeing their homes, they are quite literally running for their lives. 80% of the refugees have arrived in Mardan and Charsadda, the target area of Frontier Primary Health Care.

As the disa
ster has unfolded, FPHC has been providing free medical and maternity services at all 14 of their health centers including the Ahmed Shah Abdali Hospital in Mardan. On May 7th, 2009 Frontier Primary Health Care arranged for emergency health care services for IDPs in one camp and was planning how they could assist with emergency health care and nutrition rehabilitation services in four other camps. In discussions with UNICEF, FPHC indicated that although they have limited resources, their staff is eager to assist. By May 10th, staff had been deputed and health posts established in two IDP camps . Community labour rooms in Mardan and Nowsherra were also taking on deliveries of the IDPs.

Some IDPs are able to go to the homes of relatives but most look for shelter, food and health care where they can find it. The people, especially the pregnant mothers and children, have been arriving in miserable condition as the unrest and violence in their homes has been ongoing for many months. Many women and children have nutritional deficiencies. Civil society groups,government and common people are doing their best to provide relief.

Four main camps have now been established in Mardan district, Jalala, Sheikh Shehzad town, Mazdoorabad and Sheikh Yasin town. Emergency and comprehensive health care at the IDP camp at Sheikh Yasin town was officially delegated to FPHC. FPHC staff have continued to provide round the clock services with their own resources assisted by donations from friends and staff. Working in their regular health centers during the day, many staff take on additional evening and night duties at the IDP camps,extending their working days to 18 hours. FPHC have been using their own meagre drug supplies as supplies have been slow to arrive and 700- 800 patients daily present at the clinics with diarrhea, dysentery, respiratory infections and skin conditions in addition to the pregnant women who present for delivery.

FPHC urgently need funds to continue to provide medical supplies and nutritional support to mothers and children. Check here to find out more about the Hillman Medical Education Fund and Rose Charities. Rose Charities Canada is able to accept and send donations directly to Frontier Primary Health Care and provide tax receipts for Canadians. For a USA tax receipt donate through Rose Charities US

Photos: Lady doctors hold MCH clinic during emergency; field immunization clinics; FPHC responds to Earthquake; FPHC hold emergency clinics during floods.



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