In the developing world in the absence of state administered health services it is the poor and the most deprived that are frequently affected the most. Without the means of affording any real medical care, diseases are frequently left untreated usually getting passed on from people to people, covering whole families and communities to swiftly taking the forms of epidemics and pandemics. Poverty not only prevents due medical attention it also plays a vital role in sustaining conditions where diseases can flourish. To compound the problem poor families and individuals have less money and tend to live further away from healthcare facilities.
Women and Health
According to UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Activities) 536,000 women die in poor countries each year during pregnancy or childbirth from largely avoidable causes. Leaving approximately 1 million children motherless and vulnerable. Furthermore, poor women are far more likely to die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth.
Children who have lost their mothers are up to 10 more times more likely to die prematurely than those who haven’t. More than 80 per cent of maternal deaths worldwide are due to five direct causes:
> Unsafe abortion
> Obstructed labour
> Hypertensive disease of pregnancy
Most maternal deaths (61%) take place during labour, delivery or in the immediate post-partum period. Some 3.4 million newborns die within the first week of life.
The risk of a woman dying as a result of pregnancy or childbirth during her lifetime is about 1 in 8 in Afghanistan and Sierra Leone compared with less than 1 in 17,400 in Sweden. More than 10 million women a year suffer severe or long-lasting illnesses or disabilities – from obstetric fistula to infertility, depression and impoverishment caused by complications of pregnancy or childbirth.
Four out of five maternal deaths are the direct result of obstetric complications; most of which could be averted through delivery with a skilled birth attendant and access to emergency obstetric care.
Malnutrition in Children
One out of every three children under five in many developing countries does not get enough to eat leading to what is known as malnutrition. This often leads to a great deal of human suffering – mentally, physically and emotionally. Malnutrition leads to reduced productivity, hampering economic growth and the effectiveness of investments in health and education, and deepening poverty. Many believe malnutrition violates a child’s human rights. Frequent debates continue to understand what the most important causes of malnutrition are and what types of policies will be most successful in combating it.
Malnutrition is a complex condition that can involve multiple, overlapping deficiencies of protein, energy and micronutrients — so called because they are nutrients needed by the body in only tiny amounts. A child becomes malnourished because of illness in combination with inadequate food intake. Insufficient access to food, poor health services, the lack of safe water and sanitation, and inadequate child and maternal care are underlying causes.
According to UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) More than 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and some 2.9 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation. The result is the spread of infectious diseases, including childhood diarrhoea, which in turn are major causes of malnutrition. Each year, diarrhoeal dehydration claims the lives of 2.2 million children under five in developing countries.
Discrimination against women and girls is an important basic cause of malnutrition. The very high rates of child malnutrition and low birth weight throughout much of South Asia are linked to such factors as women’s poor access to education and their low levels of participation in paid employment, compared with other regions.
Breastfeeding is the foundation of good nutrition for infants, and inadequate breastfeeding can jeopardize infants’ health and nutrition, particularly in areas where sanitation and hygiene are poor. In countries where infant mortality rates are high or moderately high, a bottle-fed baby in a poor community is 14 times more likely to die from diarrhoeal diseases and 4 times more likely to die from pneumonia than a baby that is exclusively breastfed.
Malnutrition contributes to over 6 million child deaths each year, 55 per cent of the nearly 12 million deaths among children under five in developing countries. Half of all children under five years of age in South Asia and one third of those in sub-Saharan Africa are malnourished.
Mohiuddin Trust’s Solution
Some parts of Pakistan fall in line with some of the most deprived countries in the world when it comes to health care and education. It is for this reason Mohiuddin Trust has decided to focus its attentions to this region to help overcome the gross lack of medical care by means of implementing various projects and creating greater awareness of essential health issues.
Some of these regions are dismally short of professional/qualified medical personnel (i.e. doctors and nurses) needed to care for the highly populace cities and suburbs of Pakistan. Whilst the obstacle of creating more medical personnel is being over come through another one of Mohiuddin Trust’s projects – Mohiuddin Medical College, there is a dire shortage of hospitals and clinics where the sick can be treated.
Mohiuddin Trust has emabarked upon the construction of a 1200 bed hospital complex in Mirpur (Kashmir) with the aim of treating and caring for people unable to afford often badly-needed medical attention. Mohiuddin Trust has so far sponsored Mohiuddin Hospital – Trarkhal to near completion. This hospital will accommodate some 200 beds. Mohiuddin Trust has made a concerted effort to make clean water available to villages and remote outposts where clean water is hard to come by, or seldom found.
Summary of measures undertaken/planned by Mohiuddin Trust to address Health & Care issues:
> Clean water is made available for affected areas through the building of wells and installing hand-pumps, predominantly in around other Mohiuddin Trust sponsored projects
> By virtue of the Mohiuddin International Medical College, highly qualified nurses, doctors and medical practitioners will serve to overcome the current shortage especially in remote towns and villages
> Construction of hospitals in towns with higher populations to provide free medical care to those unable to afford it