Syed Kamal Shah
We are living through a difficult time for society and our economies. The crisis around the COVID-19 pandemic has left no one untouched and so has affected Pakistan’s economy. The pandemic is hitting marginalized communities particularly hard, at this time when nations across the world are implementing, “keep calm and stay at home measure”, the outbreak has disrupted access to family planning, reproductive health and gender- based violence services and commodities which are often overlooked in times of crisis. It’s a wake-up call for Pakistan when its statistics of MMR and IMR are already worrisome keeping in view all efforts will go down the drain which were made to reduce IMR and MMR, moreover the shortage/non availability of contraceptives and antibiotics (to treat STIs) due to disruptions in supply chain is another serious concern. We are blissful to share that Rahnuma-FPAP is a leading member of Pakistan’s civil society playing its vital role from day one in the combat zone to provide necessary support to contain the spread of COVID-19. Despite lockdown we have extended our RH and FP services across Pakistan. The only organization across Pakistan that did not close down its clinic not even for a single day. We being a member association of IPPF in Pakistan following all WHO and GoP guidelines to protect our patients and service providers. Our staff has been provided with PPEs and other staff protection tools. Our LHVs are providing MESO at doorsteps nationwide. Our IEC material in regards to COVID protocols and guidelines is kept on all necessary spots where community at large can see and get aware of it.
More than 80% services are targeted towards vulnerable and marginalized sections of society who have been hit hard by this pandemic, including those living with disabilities, HIV/AIDs, women and children, and poorer people. We are working with other stakeholders not to leave them behind and ensure the availability of RH services despite the pandemic. I am extremely proud of the innovative work and dedicated commitment our team members’ exhibit on a daily basis while caring for each other and the communities we serve. We are confident that we will make a positive contribution in this crisis, thanks to our remarkable ingenuity and teamwork of organization.
Understandably, there is a great sense of unease everywhere. My heart goes out to associates who lost their love ones, who are sick or are caring for loved ones or friends. Let us all together put humanity above all and serve for the right cause, this tough time will surely pass and will be sunshine everywhere.
Stay healthy & safe!