Laila Begum, a 31 years old housewife was feverish and stood in line with terrible pain outside a rural medical camp. She tried to visit at a private hospital but was turned away. Due to her poor financial conditions she had no other way to get a health checkup and necessary medicines. Coincidentally when she heard about a medical camp being organized in her locality she took advantage of a free medical camp to get treatment.
Thousands of people like Laila begum lack access to basic health care and specialist treatment and have to walk for many days to attend the nearest hospital or else take the long and tiring journey to the towns where medical costs are even higher. The rural areas in Pakistan are economically depressed areas where the village dwellers can barely afford a square meal each day. When they fail to meet the most vital needs such as food, having the desire to get health care for their families are no less than farfetched dreams.
In such conditions free medical camps in the rural areas are too effective in filling the void in the healthcare system. Free medical camps are organized in the rural areas to provide free consultation, treatment and advice from specialist qualified doctors as well as access to free medication on prescription. These camps temporarily provide general check-ups and specialized services in the fields of dermatology, orthopedics and ophthalmology. Medical camps also provide free checkups of blood-sugar levels, glucose, cholesterol and body mass indexes (BMI). To understand the importance of free medical camps it is necessary to know the present healthcare condition in the country.
ICMHD is a WHO Collaborating Centre which reported that Pakistan is one of the developing countries, where 95% diseases are infectious. Malaria, Tuberculosis, and Polio are among the top killers of Pakistani youth and adults. About one million lives are lost each year by Malaria.
People living in the rural areas are even more at risk of TB due to lack of access to proper medical facilities. Ironically, 75% of the total population lives in rural areas and 45% lives under the poverty line.The main risk factors for TB are malnutrition and unhygienic foods. Malnutrition is mostly prevalent in the rural and poverty stricken regions of Pakistan. Over the course ICMHD also recorded 42,000 cases of TB and mortality rate of 48 thousand deaths per year as a result of TB cases. This disease spreads easily and can be transmitted through any oral- contact with an infected patient.
Poor families in the rural areas are having no disposable income for health care so they are compelled to stay back at home and suffer instead of visiting hospitals. Most of these families are highly vulnerable to poor health as a consequence of low income and poor living conditions.
Though there are government hospitals in rural areas but health facilities and services that these people receive are inadequate. Ironically, who cannot afford health care; they are the ones who need basic health care the most. If someone fails to pay for the facilities, it shouldn’t deprive them from their rights to survival.
Free medical camps can benefit a thousand of patients. In most cases people who have visited these camps were found to suffer from diseases which are preventable. Medical camps diagnose and treat these patients and give them free medicines. Free medical camps that are organized by Medical Trusts, NGOs and Charitable organizations refer many severe cases to hospitals for further treatments and all the medical expenses are bore by the organizations themselves. These camps are life savior programs and pay servitude to the most deserving patients.