|Treatment of malnourished child, Gulsanga: Before and After|
SRI’s Health Program makes a difference
The World Health Organization (WHO) cites malnutrition as the single gravest threat to the world’s public health. Improving nutrition is now regarded as the most effective form of aid because when people are malnourished, their productivity and quality of life are greatly diminished. According to WHO, malnutrition is the biggest contributor to child and maternal death, and according to The Lancet medical journal, malnutrition in the first two years of life is irreversible, as malnourished children grow up with worse health and lower educational achievements, and their own children also tend to be smaller and die younger.
Because of these statistics, SRI’s Preventive healthcare program in the Swat Valley concentrates on improving the health and nutrition of women and children who are at risk.
Most women in that part of the world do not have access to a doctor due to social constraints, and these social constraints were reinforced by the Taliban takeover in 2008, setting women back decades. There is a pushto proverb which goes: “De khazay the para ya kor dai ya gor dai,” which means that “For a woman there is either the house or the grave.” That is why SRI’s healthcare program is so important, because we send trained lady health workers to provide healthcare inside these women’s homes.
The case of Gulsanga is one example where SRI is making a difference in women and children’s health. You can see her condition from the photograph above. She had multiple problems: she was extremely underweight, very anemic and always sick. Her mother is a widow and did not have the means to take her to a doctor. After SRI intervened to treat her, she regained her health and is now a vibrant toddler; not only that, but her mother and two sisters who were also very anemic regained their health. Were it not for SRI’s health program, Gulsanga would not have had a chance to survive.
The main goals of SRI’s health program are:
- Reducing infant and maternal mortality (see results)
- Improving maternal health, and
- Reducing the incidence of major diseases
SRI achieve these goals by:
- Monitoring pregnant and lactating mothers
- Growth monitoring of children to detect malnutrition
- Referring malnourished and underweight children to doctors
- Vaccinating mothers and children to prevent major diseases
- Conducting Health and Nutrition Seminars to prevent major diseases, improve nutrition, and teach about family planning
- Conducting Health Camps to provide basic curative care
SRI’s Preventive Healthcare Program serves nine villages in two Union Councils near Saidu Sharif, Swat. The Program covers 2,250 households with a combined population of 18,000 people.
2016 Trip Report by SRI volunteer, Dr. Ambreen Haq, about her activites in SRI Swat: 2016 Trip Report
Evaluaton of SRI's Health Program by Dr. Ambreen Haq and Plan of Action: Haq Health Plan.pdf
Free medical camp and training of hospital staff on hyseteroscopy by Dr. Ambreen Haq: Sep-2013-Health-Excerpt.pdf