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February 18, 2017

Expectant mothers face dearth of maternity facilities in Shalman


February 18, 2017

PESHAWAR: The birth of a baby is a matter of happiness for the family, but tribespeople in Shalman valley of Khyber Agency face this joyful occasion with certain ordeals.

The tribespeople have to travel a long distance to leave Shalman area and reach a hospital in Landikotal though such a long travel is very difficult for an expectant mother.

“The lone Lady Health Visitor (LHV) posted in a health facility in Loay Shalman handles delivery cases. But very few people prefer deliveries there as most prefer to go to Landikotal hospital due to lack of facilities in Shalman although Landikotal hospital is at quite a huge distance,” said Amjad Ali Shalmani, a resident of the area.

Shalman valley, a far-off area of Khyber Agency bordering Afghanistan, comprises two parts, ie Loay Shalman and Kam Shalman. Both have BHUs. Each BHU has a doctor, a dispenser and LHV.

Hamad Shalmani, from Kam Shalman area, said that there have been instances when a woman died while being taken for delivery to the hospital in Landikotal.

Another Shalmani tribesman said several children have been born near a checkpost in Shalman.

“Travel to and from Shalman valley is virtually banned from Isha prayer till morning prayer, or passengers are allowed after much grilling by security personnel and wastage of time,” he added.

A student, who visits his home in Shalman on weekends, said that he is questioned much by the tribal police at a checkpost while he enters the area though all his family is based there.

A Health Department employee, requesting anonymity, said that the doctor posted in Kam Shalman does not attend the health facility and only a medical dispenser was performing duty there.

He said it required much time and resources to carry women patients to hospitals in Landikotal and Peshawar for deliveries.This correspondent called and sent text message to Agency Surgeon Dr Niaz Afridi to seek his version, but he neither picked up the phone nor responded to the SMS.


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