ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, has held an event at Marriott Hotel in Islamabad to present its over 30 years of medical and humanitarian work in Pakistan.
The Parliamentary Secretary National Health Services Dr Nauhseen Hamid was the chief guest at the event that was also attended by officials from health and interior ministries, economic affairs division, national disaster management authority and other allied departments.
The speakers at the event advocated for a stronger collaboration between the government and non-government medical actors such as MSF to improve the health indicators in the Country.
The MSF first started working in Pakistan in 1986, and now provides urgently needed quality medical care to people in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces. There is a particular focus by MSF on mother and child healthcare and the treatment of specific diseases such as hepatitis C and cutaneous leishmaniasis. MSF also works together with the concerned government institutions to be prepared at all times to deal with emergencies, natural disasters or disease outbreaks.
“Pakistan has high needs for mother and child healthcare and specific disease such as hepatitis C and cutaneous leishmaniasis, especially in remote areas. The MSF offers international experience, expertise and training for the national medical staff, as we work in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to address some urgent medical needs,” the MSF Country Representative Aymen Abdullah said on this occasion.
“We are committed to serving those in need, and look forward to the support from the relevant government departments so that we can continue our medical services effectively,” he added.
The Médecins Sans Frontières has been an active humanitarian responder during major emergencies in the past including the 2005 earthquake and the floods in 2010 and 2012. The organization is currently running medical activities in the districts of Peshawar, Lower Dir, Quetta, Killa Abdullah, Jaffarabad, Naseerabad and Karachi. It is one of the biggest providers of treatment for parasitic skin disease cutaneous leishmaniasis in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“The MSF advocates in Pakistan for high-quality medicines to be available, affordable and adapted to the needs of the patients. We urge policy makers and relevant stakeholders to visit our health facilities and the best practices from our integrated model of care for mother and child health, decentralized and streamlined Hep C care programme and response to cutaneous leishmaniasis can be replicated,” the MSF Medical Coordinator Anna Cilliers explained.
During 2018, MSF assisted 29,507 births across Pakistan and treated 188,420 patients in emergency rooms of Chaman and Timergara district hospitals. There were nearly 4,500 newborns and children admitted to the MSF facilities and over 5,000 patients treated for cutaneous leishmaniasis.
In addition, 11,369 malnourished children were treated by MSF teams across Pakistan, and 1,146 patients received treatment for hepatitis C.
The Médecins Sans Frontières is an international, independent organization providing medical and humanitarian aid to people in need in about 70 Countries. For its activities in Pakistan, the MSF does not accept funding from any government or institution, rather relies solely on private donations from around the World.