Health Care for a Million People

Karachi: Aga Khan University (AKU) held a ceremony to commemorate treating over one million people affected by the devastating floods of 2010.

AKU responded to the national disaster by dispatching medical teams as soon as possible to Khairpur and Sukkur, followed by Jaffarabad, Balochistan. Soon after AKU sent out several teams of AKU volunteers, doctors and nurses, who provided urgent health services through camps, mobile units and government-run basic health units and hospitals.

At the University, a range of departments supported the efforts, providing people, medical supplies, food, transport and security. Eventually 16 districts across Sindh, southern Punjab and Balochistan were covered.

AKU’s Flood Response Programme has been generously supported through a US$ 6.2 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as well as a contribution of a day’s salary by faculty and staff.

Besides volunteer University faculty and staff, over 300 full-time contractual staff has provided health care to the flood-affected in these districts. Over one million people have received lifesaving health care from AKU as a result of the programme.

The flood-affected people received treatment for dehydration, diarrhoea, pneumonia, snake bites, skin infections and many other diseases associated with the floods. Nurses and doctors also provided antenatal care, assisted deliveries and administered vaccinations.

In addition to basic health care, the Programme also includes a nutrition intervention component, treating malnourished and under-nourished children with ready-to-use therapeutic food and micronutrients, and women of reproductive age with folic acid and iron supplementation.

One of the biggest strengths of the AKU’s Programme has been the low cost of about US$ 3 per patient, enabling the University to treat more people.

“The Aga Khan University is a strong example of the numerous local organizations that have worked with USAID to alleviate human suffering caused by the floods,” said USAID Mission Director Andrew Sisson at the ceremony. “The United States is committed to supporting Pakistani Government and people in their efforts to address Pakistan’s priority issues.”

Over the past weeks, medical care has been provided to the communities in Sindh, in Badin and Khairpur, most affected by this year’s floods – reaffirming AKU and USAID’s resolve to help those most affected.

For more information, contact:
Fabeha Pervez
Media Executive
Department of Public Affairs
Aga Khan University
Stadium Road, Karachi
Tel: + 92 21 3486 2925