MADRE's ally in Pakistan, Shirkat Gah, was one of the first agencies on the scene in many of the worst-hit areas. Mobile medical clinics and food distribution centers have been established, and now Shirkat Gah is focusing on women, especially those who are disabled, nursing or pregnant. According to the UN, over 500, 000 flood-affected women are pregnant, and 100, 000 are likely to give birth in the next month.
Here are some of the things Shirkat Gah is doing now:
- Delivery rooms and women doctors: Many of the mobile medical facilities lack a delivery room, and many women have not seen a doctor because there are few available female doctors. Shirkat Gah is working with medical organizations to set up safe, clean places for women to give birth, and to identify female doctors to treat patients.
- Relief supplies for women: Shirkat Gah is beginning to provide kits for mothers of newborn babies. The kits include mosquito netting and a nutritional supplement for nursing mothers. They are also distributing hygiene kits containing sanitary napkins, which often get overlooked in large-scale disaster relief operations.
- Family Planning: Shirkat Gah is working with its local partners to make contraception available to women in the refugee camps. They're also coordinating counseling and prenatal care for pregnant women.
- Safe spaces for women: Many displaced women aren't venturing outside their tents, either for safety reasons, because they are caring for children and elderly, or because tradition dictates that women remain indoors. Shirkat Gah is working to create spaces where women can meet and discuss how the crisis is affecting them and their families. Our partners will also set up conversation sessions, trainings and publications to educate women about women's health and family planning.
Women sustain communities by caring for children, the elderly and those who cannot care for themselves. This is even truer in crisis situations. Making sure women's needs are met is vital to everyone's survival, and MADRE is honored to be working with Shirkat Gah in support of their efforts to make sure the women of Pakistan are not forgotten. You can still help.