Displaced Pakistani women suffer more due to customs, says reportJune 10th, 2009 - 9:09 am ICT by IANS
Lahore, June 10 (IANS) Displaced women in Pakistan are in dire need of medical help by female health professionals as their customs and traditions bar them from even talking to a stranger, a media report said Wednesday.
“At the Shaikh Shahzad and Shaikh Yaseen camps for displaced people, there are thousands of expectant women, and their deliveries are due in the coming months,” said assistant professor Asima Karim, who recently spent about a week in Mardan, heading the first medical team comprising woman doctors and nurses from the University of Health Sciences.
“Most of such women have reached these camps after walking miles and miles without proper food and rest. Their condition has not been satisfactory but they would only discuss their medical problems with a female doctor, nurse or allied health professional,” Dawn News said Wednesday citing Asima, who termed sanitary conditions there alarming.
She fears an outbreak of cholera, diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal diseases in the forthcoming rainy season if immediate measures are not taken to address the sanitation issue.
She found most inhabitants of the camps in warm clothes while mercury remaining over 45 degrees most of the days. The food supplied to them was also not found properly cooked most of the time, besides a dearth of clean drinking water.
“We daily had a number of patients who would request not to give them free medicines but an extra bottle of mineral water.”
“There is no security issue for women at these camps. People respect lady doctors a lot and pray for their long life, health and prosperity. A large number of people would come to us just to say thanks after recovering from their ailments,” recalled Asima.
Dehydration, heat stroke, scabies and skin rashes were common among the 150 or so people doctor Asima and her six female and five male colleagues would examine daily on an average at their “hospitals on wheels”.
The mobile hospitals they had taken from Lahore had all sorts of emergency medicines, besides packs of quality milk for infants and babies. The doctors’ team had the support of 10 female and two male nurses, besides one female and five male paramedics.
“Three male and as many female doctors would examine patients from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, without a collective break for lunch or prayers, while for two hours in the evening the lady doctors would visit mosques and schools to check ailing women there who could not make it to our mobile hospitals,” said Asima.
“There were language barriers, but we found two educated local girls who would act as interpreters. We also wrote down frequently asked questions in Urdu, got them translated in Pushto to learn the same by heart.”
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