children die before their 5th birthday
people live below the poverty line
women every year die giving birth (178 per 100,000 births)
Women and children are the main victims
Access to good quality health services is very limited for the communities of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the people displaced by the conflict affecting the tribal areas in the border region (FATA). The local healthcare system is extremely fragile and is struggling to cope with the influx of displaced people. Meanwhile the level of care available for the host communities was already poor.
The region is also frequently afflicted by natural disasters, including flooding, landslides and earthquakes, which increase population movements and delay access to care.
As is often the case, it is women and children who are most affected. Too many women die during pregnancy or while giving birth, due to haemorrhages, infections or preeclampsia (a serious complication resulting from pregnancy-induced hypertension).
The fertility rate is above 3 and is one of the highest in Asia.
In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 50% of women receive no antenatal care and only one in five women have access to modern methods of contraception. Too many children die from asphyxia at birth or from diarrhoea or pneumonia during their first years of life.
Sexual and reproductive health - a taboo subject
When it comes to accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH), Pakistani women and girls face numerous difficulties – economic, social and cultural. Their rights and the freedom to make decisions and take control of their sexuality are often ignored and disregarded which has an impact on their health. Thus, improving access to good family planning services is a real challenge for Pakistan.
In the Punjab region, cultural and religious practices prevent girls and women from accessing family planning. A quarter of the population here is aged between 9 and 19 years old, women are married very young and the numbers of adolescent pregnancies are rising. There is an enormous need for sexual and reproductive healthcare and advice, but social workers struggle to address these issues.
Médecins du Monde has been supporting healthcare facilities in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa since 2009. Our medical teams provide general appointments and sexual and reproductive healthcare consultations for displaced people and host communities at six health centres.
Healthcare staff mobilised by MdM and the region’s health ministry have received training so that displaced people (especially women and children) can access good-quality care. Awareness-raising and health education sessions are delivered within the communities and during consultations, with particular attention paid to child vaccination and sexual and reproductive health. Community mobilisation has also been integrated into the programme, focusing on incorporating disaster risk reduction into the healthcare system.
Did you know?
The tribal zones on the Afghan border are at the epicentre of the conflict between the Pakistani army and numerous Islamic insurgent groups. This conflict often leads to large-scale population displacements in the region. Afghans fleeing the violence in their country mingle with the flow of internally displaced people. There are around 2.5 million displaced people in Khyber-Pakhtunkwa.
Médecins du Monde is working to improve access to good quality sexual and reproductive health services in Chiniot District in the Punjab region, focusing particularly on adolescents. Key individuals in the community receive training on this topic, and awareness-raising sessions on family planning are offered. The aim is to provide women and girls in the rural areas of Chiniot with a better understanding of their rights. They will then be able to access good quality services and manage their health better on a daily basis.
In addition, a coalition of local actors has been established to advocate for more widespread promotion of sexual and reproductive health rights in the Punjab region.
Did you know?
Punjab is Pakistan’s most populous province, with a population of almost 110 million according to the most recent census (2017). A quarter of the population is between 9 and 19 years old. On average, families have one more child than they would like to have (2.8). Among girls aged 15 to 19, 8% are already mothers or are pregnant with their first child.
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