Healthcare for women and children is a serious concern in Pakistan. Women in rural areas die from preventable complications during pregnancy and delivery, and neonatal care is unavailable in many areas. According to the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey, one in every 11 children dies before the age of five.
MSF teams are currently responding to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan.
The availability of free, high-quality medical care is limited for women and children, particularly in rural areas. We work in five different locations in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces to provide reproductive, neonatal and paediatric care. Local communities, Afghan refugees and people who cross the border from Afghanistan to seek medical assistance benefit from our comprehensive 24-hour emergency obstetric services, which include surgery and referrals for complicated cases. We also run inpatient and outpatient therapeutic feeding programmes for severely malnourished children in Balochistan.
Pakistan has one of the highest prevalence rates of hepatitis C globally. In a clinic we run in Machar Colony, a densely populated slum area in Karachi, we provided nearly 8,740 consultations for hepatitis C in 2019. Cutaneous leishmaniasis, a disease transmitted by the bite of a sandfly, is also endemic in parts of Pakistan. We run four centres to treat the disease, which is characterised by disfiguring and painful lesions. Our teams offer diagnosis, treatment, health education and counselling.
MSF assists the Pakistani authorities with emergency response preparedness in case of disease outbreaks or natural disasters. When an earthquake damaged a hospital in Pakistani-administered Kashmir in September 2019, we donated medical equipment. We also supported the health authorities during a country-wide outbreak of dengue fever. Our work consisted of running awareness campaigns and donating mosquito nets, insecticide and logistical and medical equipment.