IRC's mobile medical teams in Pakistan
For tens of thousands of villagers in rural Pakistan, the International Rescue Committee is providing the first medical care many have had in years. As part of the IRC's comprehensive 2010 flood recovery program, medical teams are now taking their knowledge and skills directly to those in most need. The IRC's Ned Colt reports from rural Sindh Province. (Posted September 22, 2011)
Ned Colt: They start before the city awakens, leaving the IRC office with exam tables, stools, medicines; loading them all into a small fleet of pick-up trucks. Then they climb in and head out…into the field. Their destination is typically 30 miles distant, taking them over washed-out chunks of paved highway and washboard-like dirt tracks. Patients are already waiting. The advance team has pinned up privacy walls of sheets. Once a week this village gets its own medical clinic that serves some 600 people in the area. The IRC operates two static health centers and another two mobile units like this. They serve communities devastated by last year’s record floods, but communities which also have never had easy access to medical care. Since last November the clinics have seen close to 40,000 patients. Almost 6,000 children have been screened for malnutrition. They receive a number-how their vital signs checked-see a doctor and if they are ill, depart with free medication.