Site Visit Account: Maternal Healthcare in Machar Colony

During April 2013, Meherunissa Hamid visited the ADP funded expansion of a health clinic run by Concern for Children (CFC) in Karachi. Here’s an account of her experience.

Even a week after my visit to Machar Colony, my ankles were itching! Having visited this area twice, I can rightfully say that no visit to Machar Colony is complete without being bitten by its core resident: the Machar (mosquito). Being one of the largest slums of the country, the Colony has open sewerage lines and garbage strewn over the streets. However, it’s not the mosquito bites or the strong stench which bothers me; it’s the possibility of all the diseases caused/transmitted by the below par living conditions which are the real concern.

The purpose of my trip was to visit a mother and child health clinic that underwent expansion through ADP’s financial support. The first glance was sufficient to tell me that the changes made are dramatic! The newly reconstructed clinic is spacious and takes into consideration the privacy needs of female visitors.  This is particularly valuable for the one to one conversations between the lady health visitor providing family planning services and the clients. The patients are now able to walk in to a large waiting area and get registered in an organized registration room.  Most importantly, the doctors are able to examine patients in a bigger and better lit room.

Mr. Parvez Akhtar, Concern for Children‘s Program Manager, was my escort for the visit and he explained the importance of CFC clinics in the area. He quoted an instance where the acquisition of an ultrasound machine by the CFC clinic proved to be a lifesaver for a mother and her unborn baby. There are over forty quacks in the colony and one of them convinced a couple of the miscarriage of their baby. While grieving with a friend, the father was informed about the ultrasound machine at the CFC clinic. The couple immediately availed this service and found out that they had been misinformed; the baby was alive and healthy. This is one example which illustrates how supporting initiatives such as this health clinic, which are often the only source of quality health services in downtrodden areas such as Machar Colony, is the key for improving the provision of health care.