Separate mission to Pakistan opened
24 November 2003
"There are more needs in Pakistan that need to be addressed than we previously expected", said Country Co-ordinator Willem de Jonge from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. "At the beginning of next year, we will take over three health posts in a refugee camp near Mohammad Kheil, where 48,000 people are staying. Some of them have been there since the Soviet takeover in 1980, but most of them came after the US led attack two years ago. Should the Chaman camps close next summer, another 30,000 are expected to arrive in the camp." The team will manage the projects near Chaman, and in the camps just across the border near Spin Boldak, Afghanistan. They will also open new interventions in the refugee camp Mohammad Kheil, south of Quetta, and in a hospital in the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP). "We're proposing to start working in the Shasho hospital in the town of Sada, in the NWFP, next year, alongside a local NGO," said de Jonge. "We intend to take over the paediatric ward. An important point here is that we will be working for the local population as well, instead of 'only' for the refugees, which should increase community acceptance". "In Spin Boldak we are looking at restarting the hospital. Urgent cases now have to be referred to Kandahar, three hours on a bad road." "The feelings in some areas in Pakistan towards foreign NGOs are still very mixed. In both Baluchistan, where the Chaman and Mohammad Kheil camps are, and the NFWP there is a lot of distrust. However, in Baluchistan we have gained trust via our work. In the NWFP, this is not yet the case. There, we're working in the most accessible district.