Overcoming Challenges In Accessing Healthcare for Afghan Refugees in Pakistan
Establishing Small-Scale Maternity Center to Address the Sexual/Reproductive Needs of Adolescent Girls and Adult Women
Afghan refugee mother and her daughter. #Pakistan. UNHCR / S. Rich / January 2012
What specific problem(s) are you trying to address?
Pakistan hosts the largest number of refugees in the world, around, 1.6 million refugees, nearly all of them from Afghanistan. According to an August, 2017 article published in Dawn (a leading newspaper): “There is a high level of infant and maternal mortality rate" among Afghan refugees. Because of the communication barrier due to lingual differences Afghan refugee women are often rejected care and maternity services in conventional hospitals where they're treated as beggars. Founding a local maternity center run jointly by the skilled medical professionals and community leaders who speak Pashto or Dari to provide immediate healthcare and reproductive services may resolve this issue.
What are some of your unanswered questions about the problem(s) you are working to address?
How large of a infrastructure this could be in proportion to end users? Will there be a need for multiple small maternity centers or a single enough space can accommodate females in need of medical and other professional services?
Explain Your Idea
This idea if implemented will benefit hundreds of thousands of women and the whole country at large that is drowning in overpopulation. According to 2017 consensus, Pakistan's population increased fourfold and is now standing at 207.77 million people. It is high time, we target the adolescent girls for reproductive counselling while providing care to pregnant women and raise awareness in sexual health matters.
Name the three most important ways that your idea will address your identified problem(s).
Safe delivering of babies. Birth control. Raising sexual health awareness among adolescent girls to protect them from violence and harassment.
How is your idea unique?
No initiative of this kind (at least, in my knowledge) has been implemented in my country, as of yet.
What are some outstanding concerns or questions that you have regarding your idea?
Bringing about birth control. The Afghan refugees are uneducated and hardly give consideration to family planning. They live in poverty-stricken areas or camps and have limited knowledge of contraception let alone access to contraceptives. It remains a challenge to teach and/or convince women and girls of difficulties in raising a large family and to shift their focus on good parenting by sending kids to schools and in earning a dignified livelihood for themselves.
Who are your end users?
The end users are young/adult women and adolescent girls. The sound health of a woman ensures stability of a family, so the whole community benefits. There has to be safe/hygienic settings/spaces for women to deliver babies who otherwise deliver in unhygienic home-spaces with no immediate necessary care to mother or the child because of which the maternal and infant mortality rates rise. These live mostly in Peshawar, in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The intervention will reach around 30,000 women and 5,000 adolescent girls who become pregnant unwanted. The maternity center can also become a hub for spreading awareness on protection from sexual harassment without stigmatization that might arise from an exclusively created network.
Where will your idea be implemented?
What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?
Tell us more about the emergency setting that you intend to implement in
There could be infrastructure challenges.
Tell us more about you.
I'm a Biomedical Engineer and my team consists of mostly engineers from different backgrounds. We all have professional experiences in social or technical environments. I'm indeed looking for collaborators and partnerships mostly the trained medical professionals and healthcare providers. My ideas will be implemented in areas with increased population of Afghan refugee women and girls.
My team is best suited because we're readers and known for our empathy. We're enthusiasts about women empowerment campaigns and actively participate in programs raising standards of living while also respecting human dignity. We're around 5-7 girls who are not shy to chant "women-for-women" slogans and 2-3 boys who truly support women causes.
Displaced person / refugee-led organization
What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?
Still in planning phase and does not exist yet
Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the two provinces of Pakistan.