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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Pakistani hospital tends to malnourished children after floodingcomment (0)

July 21, 2011


In the Shikarpur district of Sindh province, thousands of homes were destroyed and more than half a million people were forced out of their villages in August 2010 by Pakistan’s worst flooding in 80 years.

Southern Baptists responded to the need through a partnership with Shikarpur Christian Hospital that focused on helping malnourished children displaced by floodwaters.

“Shikarpur Christian Hospital has provided incredible medical care to many women in upper Sindh province since the early 1960s,” said Francis Horton, who with his wife, Angie, directs work in South and Central Asia for Baptist Global Response. “And they have done it in the love of Christ and in His name.”

Priscilla Carpenter, a doctor at the hospital in Shikarpur, has participated in the flood relief work since September. “We have had an overwhelmingly positive response from these people wanting to know what compels us to do what we are doing, as they have not seen the same kind of care from the majority community,” Carpenter said.

After the flood, which affected 20 million people throughout the country, the hospital staff realized they couldn’t help everyone. They decided to focus on one specific need — malnourished children of the flood-affected families.

These children’s families depended on the land for their survival and had no way to make a living after the floods washed away their crops. As field laborers, they were already very poor and had limited access to health care.

“[Tuberculosis] is a very common illness and very often the underlying reason for the severe malnutrition in these villagers. These children were ill before the flooding, but their families did not have the resources to come into town and get treatment,” Carpenter said. “Many of those that we have been providing care for health are still not in a position to feed themselves as they have lost their year’s income.”

Most of the children showed up with a cough or serious diarrhea. One 14-month-old girl was too weak to even cry when she arrived. She was malnourished and severely anemic. When she returned for a follow-up visit after being discharged, she crawled all over the clinic.

“We thank God that all but one child was able to be discharged in a much healthier, happier state even though some were critically ill,” Carpenter said.

Doctors and nurses also used mobile medical camps to reach out to flood victims. Carpenter’s team spent time talking to patients and made return, follow-up visits.

Many people want to know why Carpenter and her team want to help them. To that, Carpenter responded, “It is the love of Jesus that causes us to do it, and we are happy to share that love with them.”

Because Southern Baptists give to their World Hunger Fund, people in Pakistan affected by the flood and who can’t afford medical care are getting the help they need, Horton said. Their gifts, in partnership with Shikarpur Christian Hospital, helped in several ways:

• The hospital has treated 131 children and their mothers with problems like tuberculosis, malaria, intestinal parasites and upper respiratory infections.

• A total of 3,715 people received antibiotics, vitamins, iron supplements, anti-tuberculosis therapy, anti-worm medicines, anti-malarials, antipyretics, oral rehydration solution and antifungal creams.

• The staff at the hospital conducted 43 mobile medical camps, reaching 14 new villages.

• Families were taught to use oral rehydration solution. When teams of nurses followed up, they found that 80 percent of patients were using it correctly and patients were better.

For more information about the Southern Baptist Convention’s World Hunger Fund, visit worldhungerfund.com. (BGR)

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