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Community Healthcare

Marafie Hospital, Mehdiabad

This 41 bed hospital was constructed and established at Mehdiabad in 1995 by the Marafie Foundation. The facility is run by the Foundation and is well equipped with provision for X-rays, Ultrasounds, ECG and a laboratory. In order to involve the local population and to create a sense of ownership the Medical Officer and team of paramedics have been recruited locally.

Over the years, the Marafie Hospital has become a base from which various local and foreign NGOs visiting the area can conduct their health programmes. The Adelaide Leprosy Center headed by Dr. Ruth Pfau carried out a TB research program there in 1998.

Dr. Pfau was impressed by the premises and the work being done by the Foundation and referred to the hospital as, “one of the important support centers in the endeavor to rid the Northern Area of the scourge of tuberculosis; where TB patients will be diagnosed in time and cured”. The
Red Crescent Society of Pakistan also visited the area in 2000 to conduct a free eye camp in collaboration with the Pakistan Army.Over 1800 patients were treated. St.John Ambulance Team of U.K. visited Baltistan in May/June 1999 and carried out useful training in first aid ECT at various hospitals and also held small workshops about importance of clean drinking water.
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Their experts also gave solutions for constructing simple drinking water facilities from the streams and springs.

In the winter of 1999, a German lady doctor, Anne Glodny, braved the severe cold to spend 40 days at the hospital to treat many patients. Dr. Detlef Worthman and his wife arrived in Skardu from Germany on 28th July 2000. The team carried out mass vaccinations in the various villages of Kharmang from 2nd to 23rd August 2000.

A total of 1152 persons were vaccinated by them. Mrs. Linda Worthman also taught English to the Medical staff in Mehdiabad.

The team returned to Mehdiabad and stayed there from 1st August to 3rd September 2002 and carried out mass vaccinations in many villages of Kharmang. Their latest visit was in 2004 and a large number of patients were treated by them.

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Visiting Doctors and Marafie Foundation

Teams of top specialists from Lahore have held three camps regularly every year at Mehdiabad Hospital and Abdullah Hospital Skardu since 2000 to treat the patients and also to identify serious cases requiring advanced treatment and surgery in Lahore.

These doctors have not only examined the patients, they have also identified medical problems that can be cured by prevention and have also printed leaflets to create awareness amongst the local population.

On average, 4500 patients requiring treatment are examined every year and the
cases are followed up by our medical officer at the hospital.

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Nursing Homes, Lahore

In order to provide treatment facilities in Lahore, a small nursing home has been established by the Foundation in Lahore with a coordinator who works in the home voluntarily. Selected patients who cannot afford to travel and receive treatment in Lahore are provided with grants to meet the costs of traveling, boarding/lodging and

medical treatment by the Foundation and its fellow donors. Each case is carefully scrutinized and only cases of deserving patients are funded. Fifty four patients suffering from serious ailments have been treated in this way in the best hospitals of Lahore. This facility is a permanent feature and arrangements are being made to construct a nursing home in Lahore.
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Remote Treatment through Internet

With the support of Prof. Dr. Muhammad Jahangeer and Associate Prof Dr. Ejaz Hussain, Marafie Foundation will for the first time arrange treatment for skin diseases through the Internet. The Medical Officer at the Mehdiabad Hospital is being sent to Lahore for training and it is expected that the facility will become operative at the beginning of 2005. This would be the first use of IT for remote treatment in an isolated area where skin problems are very common due to strong sun, dry climate and fair complexion.

Mother and Child Health Centre

Absence of health care for women and children has always been a serious problem in Baltistan.

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Mortality rate of infants, and post childbirth complications and deaths of women were very high as there were no trained midwives or female health visitors.

Deaths in childbirth were very common, even in Skardu, the headquarters of the district administration, due to lack of female health workers and doctors. Marafie Foundation addressed this problem with a very modest initiative in 1995 of training a girl from Khaplu. This removed the prejudice and presented the profession of health care as a respectable vocation. Since then, Marafie Foundation has trained 3 female health visitors and midwives. This has also
encouraged others to join the profession and many girls have adopted nursing as an occupation. The government has also made arrangements to send lady doctors to the Skardu District Headquarters Hospital. This has to some extent addressed women’s healthcare problems.

In order to meet the requirement of health care for women and children, Marafie Foundation has set up two Mother and Child Healthcare Centres at Thowar, Khaplu and Chutron that extend advice, guidance and healthcare for women and children and by timely intervention, help to reduce complications and mortality.

Dispensaries

In order to extend healthcare facilities to remote areas Marafie Foundation embarked on an ambitious plan of providing dispensaries where medical facilities were not available. In consultation with the government health department and the communities it has established thirty-one dispensaries;

Three under construction while fourteen are planned for the near future.

These dispensaries are handed over to the health department or NGOs.

Marafie Foundation continues to support these dispensaries through periodical grants for purchase of medicines or any other requirements.

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