Reproductive health problems are one of the major causes of death among women in villages surrounding Islamabad, according to a survey conducted by DAMAAN Development Organization on Saturday.
The survey titled “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Gaps among Indigenous People” focused on seven villages of Islamabad Capital Territory— Bari Imam, Baroha, Golra Sharif, Saidpur, Malpur, Karlot and Shahdra — and revealed that they severely lack basic healthcare facilities.
The survey was shared at a workshop on reproductive and sexual health at the conference hall of Strengthening Democracy through Parliamentary Development.
The findings revealed that little girls in these areas are regularly subjected to abuse, made pregnant out of wedlock, and are not taken to a clinic for a check-up. High rates of child abuse were reported around the Bari Imam shrine. Local people said that displaced women from various parts of the country work as prostitutes in and around these villages.
Moreover, men confessed that it is considered as a taboo to reveal that they are carrying sexually transmitted diseases; this attitude puts the lives of many others, including children, in jeopardy.
The report revealed a dire shortage of health clinics and hospitals in the seven villages surveyed. In Golra Sharif, there is only one hospital and a few private clinics in an area of six to 10 km.
Saidpur has two private clinics in an area of six to 10 km.
Bari Imam has a few clinics in seven to 15 km of area.
Malpur has no health centre or even a medical store in an area stretching between 16 to 20 km.
Similarly, Karlot, Shahdara and Baroha have no hospital in areas of 16 to 20km, 2km and 20-23km respectively.
In all these areas, there is no hospital that gives service to people 24 hours a day.
Lubna Dahar, research officer at DAMAAN Development Organization, said, “Social taboos in Pakistan are one of the main reasons behind complications in sexual and reproductive health.”
Social norms prohibit unmarried girls from talking about sexual health.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31th, 2011.