The RLCC has built up a multi-faceted health program, which revolves primarily round two initiatives: the Health Centre and the Promotive and Preventive Health Program.
Community Health Centre
RLCC’s health program is one of its longest running to date. The programme includes provision of healthcare and outreach efforts to increase awareness of widely prevalent diseases and ways of prevention.
Regular clinics, specialist clinics and camps are run on a customary basis. Primary care clinics in Shah Faisal Colony and Malir function 6 mornings a week for women and children. The clinics provide immunizations, antenatal, postnatal, family planning and treatment of other minor ailments. Daily ultrasound clinics are also run in the afternoons.
Responding to the need for specialist clinics identified by the community, clinics for Diabetes and mental health were initiated with the help of partner institutions in 2014-15. 151 women are being currently treated through the Mental Health Clinic.
From July 2014 to July 2015, the Malir clinic served 6,139 patients. However, in August 2015, RLCC was forced to close its primary care clinic in Malir because of heightened political instability and resulting logistical issues.
This project was initiated in February 2009 as an off-shoot of the Health Centre with the purpose of providing health care to those members of the community who were unable to access the clinic or hospitals. It is also an integral part of our Outreach Program which aims at spreading awareness about health issues within the community.
A nominal amount of ten rupees is charged for consultation and medication for two days. When required, patients are referred to other hospitals and those who cannot afford medical expenses are given financial assistance.
The mobile clinic is facilitated with a Lady Doctor/LHV, a staff member from the Promotive and Preventive Health Programme and a compounder. During the two hour camp, the Doctor/LHV examines the patients in the mobile van while the Promotive and Preventive Health worker conducts awareness talks on health issues such as Hepatitis B and Breast Cancer.
In November 2015, RLCC established a TB program in collaboration with Interactive Research and Development (IRD) for referral to their TB treatment centres called Sehatmand Zindagi. The TB program at RLCC entailed the following:
- Training for RLCC staff on TB
- Conducting awareness raising sessions with community
- Organizing camps in order to screen community members for TB
- Providing free treatment for patients found positive
AWPA Malir Clinic
Since 2011, APWA has subcontracted the management of a clinic in Malir to RLCC. Similar to the Shah Faisal clinic, the Malir clinic also provides OPD services for general ailments, family planning and vaccination as well as an ultrasound clinic. A total of 10,429 patients benefited from the clinic services during the period 2013-14.
Patients are referred to different hospitals according to their diagnosis. An overview of the program is given below:
PROMOTIVE AND PREVENTIVE HEALTH PROGRAM
RLCC believes that among the many responsibilities that women undertake, their roles as child bearers and primary care givers are among the most influential ones, as they become important influencers to their family members.
The Promotive and Preventive Health Program involves a dedicated team of experienced Field Workers, trained by Ziauddin University and Hospital, who conduct awareness programs. In specified areas, each field worker inducts a woman from the community to become a group leader, who then holds regular meetings in her own home where her neighbors can voice their everyday concerns, building up trust and a sense of empowerment amongst the women.
There are nine outreach workers who focus on different issues such as hygiene, health, family planning and other health related issues in selected areas of Shah Faisal Town where general awareness is lacking. Field workers go to the community, identify issues, and solve problems within their limited resources.
Breast cancer Awareness and Hepatitis B are areas of special focus. Our efforts include:
- Collaboration with the Health Foundation and GAVI Alliance in which an immunization and awareness program relating to Hepatitis B was conducted in schools throughout Shah Faisal Town.
- Awareness talks on sexual health with teachers, parents, and students by RLCC field workers trained by Aahung on matters related to sexual health and child sexual abuse.
- Participation in a 6-week long project developed by Dr. Sughra Raza from Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston and Indus Hospital Research Centre on Breast Cancer Awareness in Pakistan. The project involved a survey, which helped to evaluate the attitude towards Breast Cancer amongst patients and practicing GPs throughout Karachi.
- Collaboration with JPMC in which children were given Measles vaccinations and further collaboration with Aga Khan Research Centre in which a number of women were given pap smears in Shah Faisal Town.
Field workers visited the community and monitored the growth of children from birth to 3 years of age. Growth Charts to follow the development of children in the community have been developed by the Ziauddin University and Hospital. The parents of underweight children were asked to visit the Health Centre for guidance and further monitoring.
PARTNERSHIPS AND FACILITATION
A key element in strengthening program implementation and delivery is collaboration with other organizations. Recognizing the fact that NGOs in Karachi have varied fields of expertise and established networks, RLCC continues to expand and enhance its partnerships with NGOs.
- Promotive and Preventive Health field workers were trained by Ziauddin University and Hospital
- Vaccinators were trained by Zaiuddin University and Hospital
- Data collection and collation is carried out by RLCC for Ziauddin in Shah Faisal colony.
- Sexual Health awareness programs are conducted with the aid of Aahung.
- Hepatitis B immunization program was conducted with the aid of The Health Foundation.
- Artificial Limb Centre
- Babar Psychiatric Hospital
- Pakistan Medical Research Council.
Following the successful building of a state-of-the-art secondary school in Shah Faisal Colony, RLCC is now committed to realizing Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali’s dream of a state-of-the-art hospital in the colony. Pakistan has a maternal mortality of 186 women in 100,000 live births that is amongst the highest in Asia. Infant mortality rates are also alarming with Pakistan ranking 26th in the list of countries with the highest infant mortality rates in the world. Too many women and children die of preventable causes. Despite urbanization, low socio-economic parts of the city remain congested and underserved, with poor quality of services. Low contraceptive usage and early marriages result in repeated pregnancies, and poor nutrition and lack of access results in high risk pregnancies. RLCC’s health program has also been expanding and despite limited resources has been responding to the needs of the community. Demand for quality services is high.
Ra’ana Hospital will therefore be a much needed addition to the spectrum of health services available to the disadvantaged women and children of Karachi, and Shah Faisal Colony in particular.
Najmi Bilgrami Collaborative (Pvt.) Ltd. (NBCL) is one of Pakistan’s most prestigious architectural firms having won several awards and participating in multiple public projects. NBCL has graciously agreed to be the architects for the Ra’ana Hospital project pro bono. First draft of the plans are already developed.
RLCC has formed a small, multidimensional team to provide leadership, expertise and coordination for the Ra’ana Hospital Project.