The British Red Cross has supported health clinics offering life-saving advice and treatment in Balochistan, northern Pakistan since 2000. These clinics, run by the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, are in areas that lack access to even the most basic health services. Many people live in semi-desert, rural communities where coal mines provide the main source of income. The mines offer little protection to workers, so breathing problems and injuries related to mining are common.
Saving lives and changing minds
The British Red Cross supports two mobile clinics operating from the towns of Quetta and Mastung, and two static health centres in Quetta and Nushki. In the first six months of 2012, these four clinics provided basic health care services to over 35,000 vulnerable people, with a special focus on helping women and children. The clinic teams include male and female doctors and health workers, as well as nurses and a pharmacist.
A lot of the clinics’ work is related to pregnancy. In some areas, literacy levels are low and cultural values don’t encourage women to make independent decisions. Counselling sessions tackle the beliefs that stop some people using family planning services – 3,955 took place in the first six months of 2012.
In the same period, 1,984 children were immunized against serious diseases and 7,467 people took part in health and hygiene education sessions – most of them women.
What do the clinics offer?
Family planning services
These include advice, counselling and check-ups as well as access to contraceptives.
Treatment for diseases
People can get help for illnesses like pneumonia and malaria, and referral to other clinics and hospitals for tuberculosis treatment.
Help during and after pregnancy
Support includes check-ups and home visits.
Sessions cover issues like hygiene, the importance of boiling water, breast feeding and vaccinations. People also learn about health problems like worms and diarrhoea, and first aid for emergencies like broken bones, burns and snake bites.
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