Pakistan: UN upgrades hospital for Afghan refugees

19 August 2008

A hospital in an area in south-west Pakistan where many Afghans have taken shelter has received a facelift thanks to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and its partner, the American Refugee Committee (ARC).

The Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA) scheme was inaugurated at District Headquarters Hospital in Pishin, Balochistan province, yesterday.

UNHCR contributed nearly $14,000 for the upgrade of the reproductive health-care unit – including a new labour room – at the facility, where over two-thirds of patients are believed to be Afghan. For its part, the ARC purchased medical equipment and hygiene kits and trained staff.

“Afghan refugees have been part of the local communities for over 25 years, and the RAHA project is our ongoing programme that is aimed at compensating the local communities that have been affected due to the prolonged presence of refugees,” said John Soleck, who heads the UNHCR office in Quetta.

Most of the roughly 400,000 registered Afghans in Balochistan live in urban settlements, and the new initiative – which also will cover the North West Frontier Province – seeks to help both the refugees and their host communities by boosting their health, education and water and sanitation facilities.

Under this programme, UNHCR has also contributed to other projects in Balochistan, including improving healthcare for mothers and newborns.


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