How MSF is fighting COVID-19 in Pakistan
Protective COVID-19 measures and isolation areas are in place in most of the facilities we support across Pakistan. In Karachi, we continue our digital health promotion activities within the Machar colony community to debunk myths and raise awareness.
In Karachi, the team also screened people for COVID-19 symptoms at a hepatitis C screening camp in late December. We have extensive awareness-raising activities ongoing on ways for people to protect themselves and prevent spreading the virus.
In Balochistan, at the end of the three-month agreement signed with the Ministry of Health, MSF stopped directly supporting the 32-bed isolation ward for COVID-19 in Killa Abdullah New DHQ Hospital in Chaman. However, we continue with our regular activities there. The team is facilitating COVID-19 sample delivery to Quetta for testing.
Learn more about how we are responding to the coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan.
Improving health care for mothers, children, and newborns remains a priority for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Pakistan. We also treat infectious diseases and respond to natural disasters.
The availability of free, high-quality medical care for women and children is limited, especially in rural areas of Pakistan. Even when services are available, many people cannot afford them.
We provide reproductive, neonatal, and pediatric care at five different locations in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. Local communities, Afghan refugees and people who cross the border from Afghanistan to seek medical assistance benefit from MSF’s comprehensive 24-hour emergency obstetric services, which include surgery and referrals for complicated cases.
In addition, we run an inpatient and outpatient therapeutic feeding program for severely malnourished children in Balochistan. We treated 910 severely malnourished children to our inpatient feedings programs and admitted 10,200 malnourished children to our outpatient therapeutic feeding programs in four districts across the province in 2019. Our teams manage trauma cases in Chaman, a town on the border with Afghanistan. In 2019 we also ran the emergency department in Timergara hospital, Lower Dir district. But after over 10 years of services, MSF announced that we would gradually hand over our activities in Lower Dir to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department by January 2021. Learn how you can best help in Pakistan and other countries.
Treating endemic diseases
MSF runs four treatment centers for cutaneous leishmaniasis. This neglected parasitic tropical disease is transmitted by the bite of a sandfly and characterized by disfiguring and painful skin lesions. Although not life-threatening, the severe physical disfigurement can lead to stigmatization and discrimination. Cutaneous leishmaniasis is endemic in parts of Pakistan, but treatment is either unavailable or too expensive for most people.
Consequently, they rely largely on international organizations such as MSF for care. As well as diagnosis and treatment, our teams offer health education and psychological counseling.
During an outbreak of the disease in 2019, we donated medical supplies to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Department of Health. Please donate to support our work in Pakistan and other countries around the world now.
Pakistan has one of the highest prevalence rates of hepatitis C globally. In Machar Colony, a densely populated slum in Karachi, MSF teams provided nearly 8,740 consultations for hepatitis C, which included 1,410 new patients who were enrolled on treatment. The clinic provides diagnosis, treatment, psychological counseling, and health promotion activities at a basic health care level in a decentralized model of care introduced by MSF in 2015.
Responding to emergencies
MSF assists the Pakistani authorities with emergency response preparedness in case of disease outbreaks or natural disasters. In 2019, during a dengue outbreak across the country, we supported the health authorities through awareness campaigns and donations of mosquito nets, logistical and medical equipment, and insecticide. We also donated medical equipment to a hospital in Pakistani-administered Kashmir after it was damaged by an earthquake in September.