Al-Maarifa Healthcare and DAMEN Pakistan: A Partnership for Children’s Health

Introduction

Al-Maarifa Healthcare is a leading provider of quality and affordable health services in Pakistan. We are committed to improving the health and well-being of our communities, especially the underprivileged and marginalized sections of the society.

DAMEN Pakistan is a non-governmental organization that works for the empowerment and development of women and children in Pakistan. DAMEN Pakistan runs various programs in the fields of education, health, microfinance, social mobilization, and advocacy.

In August 2023, Al-Maarifa Healthcare and DAMEN Pakistan joined hands to conduct a free health screening of poor school children in Punjab. The aim of this initiative was to identify and address the common health issues faced by the children, such as malnutrition, anemia, infections, dental problems, and vision impairment.

Methodology

The health screening was conducted in schools run by DAMEN Pakistan in different districts of Punjab. The schools cater to the educational needs of children from low-income families, who often lack access to basic health facilities. The screening was carried out by a team of qualified and experienced doctors, nurses, and paramedics from Al-Maarifa Healthcare, with the support and coordination of DAMEN Pakistan staff.

The screening covered the following aspects of the children’s health:

  • Height and weight measurement
  • Body mass index (BMI) calculation
  • Isolation of clinically high-risk diseases
  • Chest examination
  • Dental check-up
  • Eye check-up
  • General physical examination

The screening also included a health education session, where the children were taught about the importance of hygiene, nutrition, and disease prevention. The children were given free health kits, which contained items such as toothbrushes, multivitamins etc.

Results

The health screening reached a total of about 3,700 children, aged between 5 and 16 years. The screening revealed that 24% children are underweight and 18% have stunted growth.

The children who were diagnosed with any health problem were given free prescription by qualified doctors or referral to the nearest health facility. The children who needed glasses were advised spectacles. The children who had dental issues were referred to the nearest dental clinic.

Conclusion

The health screening conducted by Al-Maarifa Healthcare and DAMEN Pakistan was a successful and beneficial initiative that helped to improve the health status and awareness of the poor school children in Punjab. The screening also helped to establish a rapport and trust between the two organizations and the communities they serve. The screening also highlighted the need for regular and comprehensive health care for the children, especially in the rural and remote areas of the country.

Al-Maarifa Healthcare and DAMEN Pakistan plan to continue their partnership and expand their health screening program to other regions and schools in the future. They also hope to involve other stakeholders, such as the government, the media, and the civil society, in their efforts to promote and protect the health and rights of the children in Pakistan.