Maternal and Child Health care (MCH) Centre

Khuda Ki Basti

Located in northern Karachi about 40 km from the city centre, Khuda ki basti, is an innovative housing settlement pioneered by the NGO SAIBAN. This is a model project to provide low-cost, affordable and legal housing to residents of slums (katchi abadis) and displaced people, where residents build small houses on self-help basis.

How It All Began

One of the biggest challenges in the settlement was provision of medical facilities to its impoverished residents who could not afford to pay for private clinics. Though the basti did have a government dispensary, like many other government health facilities in far off areas, a doctor would be available only occasionally. Ultimately, Mr. Tasneem Siddiqui, President of SAIBAN, contacted HELP and requested it to provide medical facilities to the residents of the area.

HELP’s team not only opened a medical clinic in the space provided by SAIBAN, but at the same time, it identified literate women from the area and trained them to be Community health workers.

With time it was getting difficult to accommodate increasing number of patients at the clinic. HELP therefore requested the City Government to let HELP manage its dispensary which was almost non-functional, for operation, which they agreed upon.

Under the public-private partnership scheme, HELP has been successfully operating the dispensary since June 2008. Patients are provided treatment on outpatient basis, along with counseling services to women on maternal and child health. Vaccination and family planning services are provided at very nominal and affordable charges. The Community health workers programme continues to play its designated part for which it was trained, mentioned above.

The residents are very happy to receive quality medical services in their locality in addition to the fact that the project has provided jobs to several women in the community. However, maternity services were still not available in the area neither a 24-hour medical facility for emergencies and the women had to travel at least 15 km to avail maternity and child health services in the nearest public hospitals. In the absence of public transport, especially at night, many of these women delivered either at home or on their way to the hospital. The newborns had to wait till the next day to be taken to city for treatment.

Realizing this need, HELP decided to shoulder the responsibility of providing this service, and with the help of local philanthropists, acquired an 800 sq-yard plot of land in the area. HELP then approached various donors for construction; an international donor agreed to pay for the construction of ground floor and half of the first floor of the proposed Maternal and child health centre building; designed to consist of 3 floors.

After completion of phase 1, delivery facilities for the women and indoor hospital care for the children started in April 2013. Additionally there are emergency services for children and women. A 24/7 Ambulance service is available to transfer patients in need of tertiary care services. The centre will cater to the maternity needs of the surrounding population, an estimated 100,000 people.