Peshawar: In 2021, international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) celebrates the completion of providing 10 years of medical care at Peshawar women’s hospital. MSF opened the hospital for women and neonates in 2011, addressing the need for maternal and child healthcare in the rural areas of Peshawar and the merged tribal districts (previously known as FATA) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Peshawar Women’s Hospital offers comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care for patients from socio-economically disadvantaged situations, including refugees and internally displaced people free of charge. The obstetric facility has 24 beds, with a labour room, delivery room, and operation theatre for complicated or caesarean section deliveries. The hospital offers 24/7 emergency care for those women suffering from complicated pregnancies and difficult deliveries.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary, Kamran Khan, MSF project coordinator in Peshawar, says, “The need for mother and child healthcare is high in the region and MSF is providing basic obstetric care for the patients from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including Afghan refugees. For ten years, we have provided health care to women with severe pregnancy complications to caesarean section and neonates born with complications or infections. . The hospital continued to provide its services amid the COVID-19 pandemic and strict measures were implemented to ensure the safety of patients and staff.”
The hospital works with Basic Health Units (BHU) in Peshawar district and accepts women referred from BHUs and other medical structures in the merged tribal districts Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (previously known as FATA). The hospital supports a new born unit with 15 beds high dependency unit a capacity for the care of newborns with severe medical conditions.
Frank Ross Katambula , MSF Country Representative, says, “The project fills a gap for mother and child healthcare in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The long runtime of the Peshawar project highlights the need for basic healthcare for people who otherwise face challenges accessing health care in this part of Pakistan.”
Over the past 10 years, 49,108 women were admitted to the inpatient department and more than 44,450 births were assisted including 5,023 caesarean sections and 5,504 neonates were admitted to the newborn unit of the hospital. The outreach and health promotion teams form an integral part of the hospital and they have conducted countless health education sessions to increase the awareness of the patients and community. They have also trained BHU’s staff on referral systems.
Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, MSF’s Peshawar women’s hospital created a screening area at the entrance to preserve the maternity services from possible spread of the disease. A separate isolation delivery room was built, together with an isolation in-patient room for the patients. Personal protection equipment (PPE), such as masks, sanitizer, gowns and gloves are also provided to make the hospital a safe place for the health workers, patients and their caretakers.
Médecins Sans Frontières is an international medical humanitarian association that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF first started working in Pakistan in 1986, and currently provides urgently needed quality medical care to people in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces. MSF works in collaboration with the health authorities in the country and its activities in Pakistan are funded solely by private donations, with no institutional or government contributions.
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