Since August 2008, millions of people have been displaced by fighting in the North West Frontier Province and Tribal agencies of Pakistan. While fighting and bomb attacks have increased all over the country, and the number of civilian victims of the war continues to rise, insecurity and travel restrictions are limiting the provision of medical services to many of the communities hit hardest by the fighting.
Following the current offensive in South Waziristan, a team of two MSF staff has finally been able to conduct an independent assessment in Dera Ismael Khan. The team identified acute needs in the hospitals’ emergency rooms, and emergency needs for basic sterilization and hygiene inside the women’s hospital operating theatre. MSF is in contact with all authorities to obtain authorization to implement medical activities in Dera Ismael Khan.
In a region where Western powers involved in counter-insurgency strategies are also major donors, the provision of humanitarian aid has largely been linked with political objectives. MSF completely disassociates itself from these policies, and our teams strive to clarify that MSF is a private medical organisation, independent of political, religious and economic objectives. In Pakistan, MSF does not accept funding from any government and relies solely on private donations from the general public to carry out its work.
Despite the difficulties, today MSF teams have been able to provide free emergency medical and relief services in over a dozen sites in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan, and remain prepared to respond to emergencies with 750 national and international staff.