Emergency Health Support for Drought affected communities in rural Sindh

Emergency Health Support for Drought affected communities in rural Sindh

Free Medical Camps for drought affected communities of Amerhaar village of Umerkot district in Sindh were set up under our emergency response and health project supported by Hope Bridge. Over a hundred local community members, of which 44% were women and 52% children, came to take free health consultancies at the medical camp. Prior to the medical camp being set up, the local residents of Amerhaar and other surrounding villages were informed of the medical camps dates and timing by our health team. As a key activity of the medical camps, awareness sessions on Nutrition and Health, focusing on the causes and symptoms of malnutrition and preventive measures of diarrhea, were also held. More than fifty community members participated in these sessions.

My husband is an unskilled laborer and I have vocational skills on hand embroidery. Together, we both earn a scanty income which is not enough to serve a family of seven members. Our household expenses often exceed the monthly income we earn. We reside far from major cities and as a result, have a difficult time finding quality healthcare as we need it. Initially, we travelled to urban areas to avail health care facility of which most expense was born out of pocketing, landing us in poverty. The free medical camps organized in Subhani village provided basic health care to the unprivileged communities. Other than providing general check-ups, the medical team sensitized the community members on personal, domestic and environmental hygiene, nutritious diet, food diversification and importance of breast-feeding through various health sessions.

Champa Bai, Subhani village, Union Council Kaplore, Umerkot

Most of our income expense is spent on healthcare. Residing in an unhygienic environment, often give birth to various illnesses in the family. As an unskilled laborer, my husband does not earn a sufficient income to fulfil all household expenses. It is difficult for people like us to even afford general health diagnosis or treatment as we reside in remote rural areas. Healthcare facilities do not reach in our area. As a result, we have constrained access to health services. Availing healthcare in Umerkot city is costly, both in terms of travel and treatment. The medical camps organized under the health project[1] have reached the poor patients in rural areas. Besides treating diseases other important topics covered by these camps include balanced diets, the significance of including vitamins, minerals, protein, the importance of hygiene and sanitation, basic sanitation techniques such as correct hand washing and environmental cleanliness. I came to the medical camp with the complaint of weakness and frequent headaches. After a thorough check-up, the medical officer diagnosed hypotension and anemia. I was prescribed with multivitamins and advised to drink lemonade regularly for instant energy.

Aami village, Subhani village, Union Council Kaplore, Umerkot

[1] Emergency Response Health Project in Umerkot, implemented by Community World Service Asia and supported by HopeBridge.

We had to travel to Umerkot city to avail healthcare treatment, which is 47 kilometers away from our village. Travel through a taxi costs us PKR 5000 (Approx. USD 33) and the consultation fee of the doctor is PKR 2000 (Approx. USD 13). As a sole bread earner in the family, it is difficult to bear large amounts of money on healthcare. The free medical camps organized in April, 2019 at Subhani village provided free consultations, money and health education to communities residing in remote areas of Umerkot. In the previous medical camps, more than a hundred patients were treated from our village. People in the village are more aware about maintaining a hygienic environment and exercising healthy practices in their homes. The medical doctor has prescribed amoxicillin, paracetamol, an anti-allergy tablet and cough syrup for the cough and fever I was suffering for a few days. The past five years have been difficult for our family due to the severe drought conditions in Subhani village. The fields do not provide a good harvest as there is little water for irrigation. The seeds we sow are wasted mostly. The total expense of the household mounts up to PKR 14,000 (Approx. USD 92) whereas, I earn a small income of PKR 9,000 (Approx. USD 59) as a laborer. Many times I have to request for loan from friends and neighbors to make ends meet.

Kirshan, Subhani village, Union Council Kaplore, Umerkot

I brought my son to the medical camp, organized in April 2019, as he complained about gastro, diarrhea and vomits. The medical officer thoroughly examined him and prescribed some medicines. The medicines included flagyl gravinate, ORS and paracetamol. He was further advised to drink boiled water and avoid unhygienic food items. I reside in Subhani village, which is a remote area in Umerkot district. Accessibility and availability of proper healthcare service is a great challenge. The medical camps organized by Community World Service Asia under their health program, has served as a blessing for our community. People from nearby villages also availed the free health service, doctor’s advice and health education sessions.

Ghaman, Subhani village, Union Council Kaplore, Umerkot