Women's healthcare in Bajaur, Pakistan: Onwards we go!

Gaining the trust of a community can be just as vital as offering high quality medical care. Sarah blogs from Bajaur in the north of Pakistan...


As medical personnel we constantly assess our work, formally and informally. What was the patient influx like this month? What kind of patients did we receive? What medicines are more in use right now? Any seasonal changes in medical conditions? Any other need that requires addressing?  

Amid all these very important questions, we are sometimes reminded of how the patients we are treating perceive us or how they are beginning to develop confidence in us.  
Such is the instance related to me by our nurse supervisor in the mother and child health department (MCH), Shazia.  
A patient was received with a postpartum hemorrhage at the mother and child health department. This is when a mother bleeds more than normal after she gives birth to the baby. The condition can very easily prove fatal. She was stabilized by MSF teams and referred immediately to Timergara, where MSF provides comprehensive obstetric care including surgery. Her life was saved and she returned in good health. 
A few months later, the same patient came to the department again in an emergency.  The mother had lost her baby early in the pregnancy and her own life was at risk. She was again stabilised and referred to Timergara, where she went through medical treatment. Her life was saved. 
A joint effort by both Bajaur and Timergara teams saved the woman’s life twice. Now she visits the MCH on a regular basis for her antenatal care check-ups.   
Receiving new patients makes us realise how many people we are reaching, but a returning patient such as this one makes us secretly pat ourselves on the back. For it speaks of a patient’s satisfaction and confidence in what we offer. It makes us go on.