It was indeed a big honor and challenge for Social Services Program to be present and serve the underserved for almost one year in FR Bannu – one of the high risk zones in that particular area. SSP became the first development agency who introduced Nutrition and IYCF concepts in the same Union Councils at the beginning of 2015, many thanks to Pakistan Emergency Response Fund ERF, UNICEF and WFP that jointly supported Nutrition in four union councils. Now by the grace of almighty Allah SSP again had an opportunity with the courtesy of UNICEF KP to again become a pioneer and introduce a complex concept mother child care through mother child days in three union councils, namely: Zaraki Peer Bakhel, Momand Khel and Takhti Khel.
It is worth mentioning that since long not a single development agency entered into this area and in case they entered could hardly spend more than a few weeks due to the complex geographical and security reasons. One of our assigned union council (Takhti Khel) was considered to be a hub of kidnappers and professional killers. Thanks to Pakistan Army after Zarb e Azab situation is conducive to a great extent beside this our transparent working relationship with the local population and other relevant stakeholders completely changed the environment in favor of the project and that for social services program field staff which ultimately lead to the successful completion of the project.
FR Bannu is considered the land of Ahmadzais (Kalu Khel & Sin Khels) and Uthmanzais (wazirs). Local communitie are living in extreme weather conditions and the influx of TDP’s multiplied there miseries. Last year 47/48 degree temperature was recorded. Their main source of income is their agriculture lands and livestock. They are brave people as can be felt very well.
If we look at the national statistics, the overall health indicators for country are not encouraging like IMR was recorded 99.7 per 1000 live births (range 129.0–70.1). The main causes of infant deaths were reportedly Diarrhea syndrome 21.6%, Tetanus 11.7% and ARI 11.6%. The neonatal contribution to all infant deaths was 67.2% in KPK, 56.8% in FATA respectively.
Health Infrastructure in FR Bannu
• The Directorate of Health FATA has been striving to promote a healthy society through a network of facilities & services, with its representative in each agency & FR area. It manages
• 11 BHUs,
• 7 CHCs,
• 01 MCH Center,
• 52 CDs and
• 02 labor suits here.
• There is no Tehsil level hospital. MCH situation of the area has not improved and 66% of the PLs & 72% mothers had not visited a Health Facility (HF). 13% of respondents blamed cultural & religious belief and taboos, and 15% reported lack of HF in their area for their health problems
Why this net work could not delivered?
All the health facilities are in a poor state of functioning rater two out three were not functional and used as Hujra’s by the land owners. All the three selected health facilities were lacking rooms for FMO & LHV. None had the functional labor room facility.
All the facilities were deficient in equipment and supplies and all had dearth of medicines. Apart from these facts, the complex emergencies in the area aggravated the situation. This led the UNICEF to come to the rescue of people of the area and TDPs from NWA and there was this Mother Child care Project, through Mother Child Days. The objective was
- To strengthen MNCH & EPI Services; through filling of critical HR, equipment and supplies gap in target HFs to ensure quality MNCH Services for HCs and TDPs.
- To provide ANC, NC and PNC to PLs from the target populations.
- To improve health and nutritious status of women and children’s of IDPs and host communities living in target Union Councils of Bannu by ensuring immediate access to life saving communities based MNCH package
- To develop functional referral linkages from community to PHC facilities and onward to secondary or tertiary care hospital if needed.
Direct beneficiaries of the project are: Pregnant Ladies, Lactating ladies, Children under 5 years, Children 2-5 years and Children 6-59 months old.
The project was signed with UNICEF on 3rd of June 2015, field activities were formally started from 22nd June 2015. Project completed its life as per PCA on 30th November 2015 however was granted no cost extension till 15th January 2016. Today was the last working day of the project. SSP closed its office for the time being in Bannu from today. It was a wonderful year for SSP, will miss for a long time the hospitality, care, unconditional support and love they extended to SSP field staff d uring the last one year.
During the project SSP field staff left no stone unturned in reaching to the intended beneficiaries and let me pay tribute to their level of commitment and dedication. Their day and night efforts at last yielded in the shape of successful completion of the project. They introduce a new culture of social accountability, involvement of the targeted beneficiary’s right from the day one, involvement of religious scholars and their unconditional support for the project was the biggest achievement. Close coordination with the parent department, law enforcement agencies and civil administration resolved so any issues during the project Implementation. Would like to especially highlight the unconditional moral support SSP team received from Commissioner Bannu Kamran Zaib and DG Health Services FATA Secretariat Dr Zafeer was a source of admiration for our staff. Agency Surgeon’s office and EPI Coordinator FR Bannu’s technical support in terms of training to our vaccinators build their capacity and also improved the quality of vaccination. Reaching to more than 4000 under two year children and their vaccination in FR Bannu and especially in Takhti Khel was not a joke, people who know the area will agree and appreciate our efforts.
Credit of this whole show goes to the Dr JAMEEL head of “Health and Nutrition” UNICEF KP who took this decision and entrusted SSP to accept this challenging assignment, we tried our best to come up to the expectations of our intended beneficiaries and that his office too. Today we can proudly say that except one indicator, ‘deliveries at facilities” in the rest we crossed the minimum bottom line and the same was possible. There are certain valid reasons for the same. At least we introduced the culture of institutional deliveries at all the three health facilities and also in the history of FR Bannu for the first time provided them the services of a trained gynecologist at their door steps.
We learned a lot from Dr Inam Ullah Khan’s (program officer UNICEF) critical assessment and evaluation. Munir Akhtar sb (UNICEF logistician) timely support ensured the timely availability of all requested supplies. Dr Nusheen guidance in the NCE will always be remembered. It was a wonderful experienced, SSP gained a lot of experience from it, it boosted our profile, multiplied our level of acceptance, provided us an opportunity to reach to thousands of mother and sister, under five, 2-5 year and 6-59 for different interventions. I am sure that, the prayers of the intended beneficiaries will yield IA. Looking for other likewise opportunities….Following graph is self explanatory and shows the details of categories of beneficiaries we reached to during the project life.