Where We Work

Good information leads to good will in Pakistan


Mrs. Rehana was able to deliver a healthy son thanks to the training provided to community members in her village. Photo: Muhammad Khan Kabooro

 
When Mrs. Rehana went into labor in her village in the district of Dadu in southern Pakistan, the situation looked very grim. She had a complication that called for an emergency delivery, and had no means to get to the hospital. Help, however, was on the way, because Abdul Majeed Bhugio, a young member of a local leadership group in Mrs. Rehana's village, had attended a Pakistan Initiative for Mothers and Newborns (PAIMAN) maternal and child health sensitization session.

At the session, Mr. Bhugio and the other participants, all of whom are well-known in the community for helping in times of need, learned the importance of prenatal and postpartum care. Mr. Bhugio was so enlightened by what he learned that he decided to dedicate himself to supporting the initiative to ensure that the men of his village helped women receive the appropriate care.

The day of Mrs. Rehana's emergency, Mr. Bhugio was given the opportunity to demonstrate that commitment.

Mr. Bhugio and one of his friends, who had also attended the PAIMAN session, convinced Mrs. Rehana's husband to go to the tehsil (local) hospital with them. These young men knew that in order for Mrs. Rehana and her baby to have a chance at surviving, she was going to need professional medical care.

Mr. Bhugio and his colleagues at the session had learned that Pakistan's maternal and newborn mortality rates are among the highest in South Asia. In Pakistan, a woman dies every 20 minutes from pregnancy complications. The majority of maternal and newborn deaths occur at home, where over 80% of women deliver. Skilled health providers attend at only about 5% of home deliveries.

The PAIMAN project holds sensitization meetings in villages across ten target districts to inform community leaders about the potential health issues for pregnant women and newborn infants. The meetings provide information on danger signs for women in labor and encourage communities to develop strategies for getting women to a hospital, should a higher level of care be needed. PAIMAN is working to reach 12 million people in ten predominantly rural districts through a variety of approaches and media channels, including training 10,000 lady health workers and partnering with 32 NGOS at the grass-roots level.

When Mrs. Rehana and her husband arrived at the hospital, Mr. Bhugio and his colleague met with the medical superintendent and asked that he do everything possible to save Mrs. Rehana's life. Mr. Bhugio and his colleague even took care of the costs for Mrs. Rehana's care.

Because of the men's generosity and knowledge, Mrs. Rehana safely gave birth to a healthy baby boy. And there is more. At the same time, another woman who was delivering at the hospital was hemorrhaging and needed a transfusion. Mr. Bhugio's colleague immediately volunteered to give his blood, thereby saving the lives of both the mother and the newborn.

"It is unbelievable how God led us to a place where we can save precious lives. We are very thankful to PAIMAN for providing us with the awareness and the confidence to do all this," said Mr. Bhugio.