Saudi support brings improved health services to more than 100,000 children and their families in the earthquake-affected regions
23 August 2011, Muzaffarabad. – Seven new basic health units were opened at a ceremony in Muzaffarabad today as part of a programme to improve the health of more than 100,000 children and their families in earthquake-affected areas of northwest Pakistan.
UNICEF constructed the seven basic health units in Muzaffarabad, Abbottabad and Mansehra with the significant financial support of Saudi Public Assistance for Pakistan Earthquake Victims (SPAPEV). The people of Saudi Arabia also supported the construction of an additional basic health unit, which was opened in 2009. Three additional facilities were constructed last year through the contributions of other donors. In all, UNICEF has constructed 11 basic health units since 2007.
The Saudi-supported basic health units will serve a population of 105,490 people in total, largely benefiting children and women. The units provide both new facilities and better access to improved health services.
The buildings are modern, earthquake-resistant and environmentally-friendly structures that include solid boundary walls, ramps and railings that facilitate access for physically-challenged children and adults, along with water and electricity supply. The majority feature solar power as a backup energy source.
The facilities are well-equipped with furniture and a range of medical equipment. The units vary in size from two-four building blocks, with up to 21 rooms at the largest facility. Facilities include a dispensary, waiting and examination rooms, wardroom, family planning area, and laboratory. Local Health Departments run the units and provide medical staff.
SPAPEV Regional Director, Dr. Khalid M. Alothmani, was among the special guests at an inauguration ceremony for all seven Saudi-supported basic health units held at the Basic Health Unit Sarar Hasanabad. Also among those on the guest list were the Minister for Health, Sardar Qamar U Zaman Khan, the Director-General of Health, Dr. Qurban Mir, and UNICEF Pakistan Representative Dan Rohrmann.
“Since the October 2005 earthquake, we have been working hard to lessen the hardships of the earthquake-affected people. This project is the result of our three-pronged strategy to focus on health, education and housing. I would also like to give appreciation for the efforts of UNICEF in completing these seven BHUs and to assure our Pakistani brothers and sisters that Saudi Arabia will continue to support their recovery,” said Dr. Khalid M. Alothmani.
Mr. Dan Rohrmann said, “These basic health units provide practical and improved health services to their local communities. We know that access to health services can make a real difference in terms of reducing child mortality and contributing to the ongoing health of children and women – this access is basic right of all children. On behalf of UNICEF, I would like to thank the Saudi people for their generosity in making a real difference to the lives of children. The benefits of these basic health units will be measured in decades of improved health.”