Meher  S. Khan, M.D., FAAP, FACAAI
146 Montgomery Avenue #200  Bala Cynwyd PA 19004
610-668-0836 Fax 610-668-7922 Email:

With Dr. Paul Farmer- PSCOM@Hershey

Refugee Camp Yar Hussain, Swabi, NWFP, Pakistan

Camp Yar Hussain in Swabi District, home to 32,000 IDPs-Internally Displaced Persons, by the Taliban, from Swat, Dir and Buner. An archaeological treasure Swabi was home to the Gandhara Chapter of the Indus Valley Civilization with hundreds of excavation sites now on hold. Alexander the Great in his eastward quest crossed the River Indus at Hund which now lies on the right bank. A six lane motor highway, the M1, connecting Islamabad withe Peshawar passes through Swabi district with an access interchange at Ambaar. Established in May 2009 Camp Yar Hussain was run cooperatively by the UNHCR, UNICEF, WHO, WFP, several NGOs, and governmental agencies, to provide shelter, food, water, sanitation, health care, education and vocational training,and was closed in mid July 2009 with IDPs returning to their homes.

Working with an NGO: International Medical Corps(IMC)

IMC provided 24/7 primary health care, as well as first aid, antenatal/postnatal checks, wound care, oral rehydration therapy(ORT), psychosocial support and medicines. Most common illnesses were gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, depression, anemia and myasthenia. The IMC work environment was one of providing immediate health care, and empowering communities to drive their recovery through education and training. The up-beat energetic compassionate Lady Health Visitor-LHV-was a key figure, who was the back bone of communication between patients, their families, the doctors, pharmacists, psychological counselors and IMC administrative personnel. The LHV would be the equivalent of a Community Health Worker, usually from the local community, provided with basic training to take care of upto 70-80% of field/displacement illnesses, and the know-how to send referrals for specialty care. They would sustain care for months after volunteers and trainers left thus ensuring continuity of care. IMC allowed for this by making sure there was equity among personnel; validation of all contributions both tangible and intangible; transparency and honesty in motivation, incentives and working relationships; and mutual benefits. Not only was emphasis placed on direct illnesses, but also indirect morbidity due to breakdown of public health such as nutrition, water/sanitation, infectious diseases; and wider societal consequences of displacement such as gender based violence (GBV), effect on mental health, quality of life, disability, loss of earning potential, poverty, and survival especially of women and children.

International Medical Corps Basic Health Unit #2


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