Dear Friends and supporters,
I want to give you an update on our activities to date. I have been working nonstop to get our Preventive healthcare project, in collaboration with HDF, off the ground. When I first arrived in Islamabad in May, I had a private meeting with the US Ambassador Ann Patterson, Deputy of Mission Gerald Feiersteine and refugee coordinator Liane Dorsey in the US embassy. We had a detailed talk with the Ambassador and presented her with our current project as well as our future proposal to make Swat into a model district.
The HDF team and Swat Relief Initiative have been working diligently, hiring and training the staff for our preventive healthcare program in Swat. The building for our Community Health Center is ready for use, and, day after tomorrow, our training session will be completed and our team will be ready to go into the field to teach women about preventive healthcare, hygiene and nutrition. We will also be monitoring pregnant and lactating women and children under 5 in order to prevent malnutrition and reduce female and infant mortality and improve maternal health. Our HDF team has been extremely efficient and professional in conducting the training sessions for our staff and I say this with confidence as I have personally attended all the training sessions with our staff members.
I also wanted to inform every one of a grave situation I witnessed. Since I have come to Swat many people have been telling me to visit the maternity ward in the Saidu Hospital because the practices there are atrocious. I visited the maternity ward a few days ago and the condition there was beyond belief. I did not sleep for several nights, haunted by the sights I witnessed during my surprise visit there. The stench was stifling, the birthing beds were all torn with deep craters and were never cleaned of blood between patients, the vacuum cup and surgical instruments used on each patient were not even washed, leave alone sterilized between each patient, contraction inducing drugs and episiotomies were given prematurely resulting in ruptured uteruses and unnecessary bleeding. In the 5 hours that I was there not a single doctor could be seen and on top it all the nurses and staff were extremely rude to the patients, slapping them and yelling at them frequently. I am appealing to everyone to join hands to remedy this situation. I am really disturbed by what I saw. I have, personally, taken it upon myself to fix this situation before I leave Swat. If any one else wants to help please let me know.
Zebu Jilani, President, Swat Relief Initiative