Wake up call for the nation from hungry, sick, poor, dreaded and helpless folks living on both sides of River Indus in Sothern Punjab. Until a decade ago it was a haven for dacoits which police avoided until the rangers busted and guarded it only to a certain extent.
Worse comes to worst here: kids, women, men, young and old are starving to malnutrition and are dying of ills; fatal or contagious.
Heeding to the awful conditions of the needful the idea of a free-of-charge boat clinic was envisioned and implemented by Indus Hospital Karachi with three boat docking points to commence with.
One docking boat point attending 70 patients expected to reach eight boat docking points by end of the year.
The modus operandi of such cruise clinic is that its arrival is announced a day in advance so that sick people are registered with concerned personnel already there to be attended when boat clinic arrives the very next day.
Such clinic on a cruise has doctors, para medical staff: nurses, midwives and technicians. It also has a well- stocked pharmacy and a lab for prescribed tests. It comprises hygienic food and drinking water for on- board doctors, paramedical staff, crew and others as well.
This is all for around 105,000 people which is further divided into 47% male, and 53% female population. The inhabitants are marginalized and vulnerable, with bare minimum access to communications. The area gets completely submerged during the floods. In such a scenario, the only way to get healthcare is by boat.
Equipped with all the basic necessities, this unique initiative will integrate public health services identified by the community and provide access to immunization, pediatric, nutrition, family planning, breastfeeding, deworming, Hepatitis C, and mental health services.
In fact, it is more than a clinic on a cruise with comprehensive healthcare: diagnosis treatment and medication, first of its kind and model of a boat hospital for Pakistan.
If sky is the limit in ingenuity and humane service, “Indus and like-minded” Media, CSR-oriented companies and GOP can nurture the novel idea of incorporating “the rehabilitation part” into an already exemplary humane service by inculcating the spirit of self-confidence and self-help enabling the less-privileged to stand on their own feet by learning and training in trades and skills for dignified living, livelihood and lifestyles and for grace, dignity and honor in the comity of nations.
The writer, a senior faculty in media management and corporate communication, contributes articles to media on national and international affairs.