Frontier Primary Health Care is a small, effective Pakistani NGO operating for more than 20 years in the Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa (KPK) region, formerly called Northwest Frontier Province. They provide primary health care to more than 250,000 Afghan refugees and local Pakistanis in 4 rural districts and one of the federally administered tribal areas near the Afghanistan border.
They provide the complete range of PHC at a cost of less than $2 USD per person annually. While minimal in terms of cost, this PHC has increased the health status of the populations they serve enormously, with many of the parameters in their communities much higher than elsewhere in the region. They have accomplished this remarkable achievement by using an army of both male and female local volunteers and a committed group of staff paid local wages.
Over the past five years they have also responded to four humanitarian crises in their region. The earthquakes on the Kashmiri border; the deluge of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) as a result of violence in Northern Pakistan and floods in Mardan in 2009 and now a Pakistan-wide flood of 2010. Their expertise and efforts have been recognized by UNICEF and they have in the past been contracted to provide medical care and nutrition feeding centers.
In the current crisis more than 20 million people, almost 1/5 of the population of Pakistan, have been displaced and in the area where Frontier Primary Health Care operates, flood waters more than 20 feet deep flow over the roads, destroy homes and inundate the fields.
Nowsherra and Charsadda districts have been among those worst hit. FPHC is providing assistance to the flood-affected at their health units in those districts. Additionally Frontier has been deploying two mobile medical teams consisting of medical doctors, medical technicians, Lady Health Visitors, social mobilisers, EPI technicians and support staff equipped with ambulance, medicine and equipment daily. The mobile teams focus mainly on emergency services and MCH services. The major diseases reported are water related such as skin infections, diarrhoea and also respiratory infections.
The mobile teams are also distributing food and clothing donated locally; micronutrients and vaccines supplied by UNICEF and occasionally cooked food and utensils. Each morning the mobile teams report to the District Health Officer to be sent to the hardest hit areas. As the need is so great and the resources few, the teams rarely return to the same area. The threat of cholera and dysentery, because of the difficulty in obtaining drinkable water, increases daily with nutrition of the many displaced children and pregnant women an ongoing need.
FPHC has been in contact with UNICEF and UNHCR but so far international organizations have been experiencing difficulty in moving supplies and people in place in the rural areas. I notice that several of the humanitarian sites such as Hesperian and Grassroots International are suggesting donations be sent to appropriate, reliable local Pakistani NGOs to circumnavigate the difficulties the larger international NGOs are experiencing, in the same way SRPC is doing.
The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada has partnered with Frontier Primary Health Care for more than four years. During that time we have worked with FPHC to improve the management of sexually transmitted diseases, trained traditional birth attendants and are currently developing participatory research, conflict resolution and training projects. Money sent to FPHC will be appropriately and well spent. Along with the Hillman Medical Education Fund and Rose Charities Canada, Society of Rural Physicians proudly supports their work and have found secure reliable ways to send funds. Your generous donations have allowed us to send $6000 to date. Rose Charities is a volunteer-based organization with low overhead.