Lifeline for impoverished Christians in Pakistan

Barnabas-funded medical facilities provide free, easily accessible health care to believers

“T his health clinic is more than just a medical facility – it is a lifeline that reaches into the heart of the community.” These are the words of Sajid, a Pakistani Christian brick kiln worker, thanking God and Barnabas Aid for making free medical care accessible to him and thousands of other poor believers.

The first Barnabas-funded medical centre opened in late 2020, around the same time as the first Barnabas-funded mobile health clinic took to the road, both serving Christians in impoverished areas of Pakistan.

The response from our brothers and sisters was so overwhelmingly thankful, the need so great, that we have continued to open other medical facilities for Christians in the poorest parts of Sindh and Punjab provinces.

Today Barnabas supports three medical centres and three mobile health clinics, each operated by teams of Christian medical professionals. Together they provide free expert medical care and free medicines, where needed, for more than 40,000 Christians a year.

As well as providing relief for physical ailments, medical staff pray with their patients and encourage them with Bible verses.

“Through this initiative, individuals not only experience physical healing but also witness a demonstration of Christian love that helps cultivate and deepen their own faith journey,” said one of our Christian project partners.

Work in the brick kilns goes on as a patient receives treatment from our mobile health team

Health an unaffordable luxury for most Christians

Health is a luxury most impoverished Christians can’t afford. It is secondary to their struggle to earn enough to provide a daily meal.

Believers, marginalised and discriminated against by the majority Muslim society, often work the lowest-paid, dirtiest and most dangerous jobs, such as in brick kilns, sewers or factories. Others are daily labourers, dependent on irregular earnings. Poverty and poor working conditions impact their health. Hereditary malnourishment also makes them vulnerable to medical problems.

Most Christians cannot access medical care because of the cost of medicines and some treatments. They often cannot afford to take time off work to make the long and costly journey to reach a hospital, and some are too unwell or infirm to travel.

Barnabas health centres are based in the heart of Christian slum communities of Hyderabad and Islamabad, and our well-equipped mobile health vans travel to where believers need them most, primarily in rural brick kiln and slum areas.

The most common ailments reported are diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, high blood pressure, skin diseases, coughs and stomach problems. Many had breathing problems caused by pollution.

Poor sanitation and limited access to clean water contribute to these problems, as do poor diet and poverty. High summer temperatures and freezing winters exacerbate medical conditions.

If a case is beyond the scope of the Barnabas mobile clinic or health centre, the team arrange for patients to see specialists for further care.

Each of the teams provides health awareness advice as well. They run community health camps, visit schools and run mother and child clinics to teach the importance of regular check-ups and good nutrition.

Clinics a “bright spot” amid brick kiln grind

News that a Barnabas mobile health clinic was to start making regular visits to Rani’s rural community came as a “bright spot that has brought happiness to our lives”, she said.

She sought its help after experiencing dizzy spells and pain while labouring in a brick kiln alongside her husband. Because of poverty, their three school-age sons work with them as well to bolster the family’s meagre income.

The medical team diagnosed a nutritional deficiency and gave Rani multivitamins and pain killers as well as dietary advice. As a result, she felt better and more energised.

“Our hearts are filled with gratitude to God and Barnabas Aid for providing us with the mobile health clinic,” she said.

Rani’s heart is filled with gratitude to God and Barnabas for providing her community with the mobile health clinic

“This support goes beyond just medical assistance; it is a reminder that, as Christians, we are not alone.

“The challenges we face in society are met with kindness and understanding, making our journey a bit brighter.”

Yousaf, his wife and their two daughters all suffered regular stomach upsets. The mobile clinic team said the problem was caused by contaminated water and unhygienic conditions in the brick kiln where they work as a family.

Medication cured the symptoms, and the family now follow the hygiene practices taught by the team, including drinking water only that has been boiled.

Yousaf says the clinic has brought great benefits to his community. “It’s a beacon of hope. A reminder that even in the toughest times there are those who care.”

The Barnabas-funded mobile health clinic is a “beacon of hope” for Yousaf and his community, bringing health care to their doorstep

“They gave us hope that our lives and our health would get better”

Widow Razia hadn’t been able to get treatment for a skin condition since the death of her husband some years ago because without him, she had no means to get to a hospital.

“We don’t have enough money to go to hospitals for check-ups, treatments or to get the medications we need,” she said, thanking a Barnabas medical centre for its help.

“The health team of Barnabas Aid is always nice and made us laugh,” she added. “Most of all, they gave us hope that our lives and our health would get better.”

Barnabas mobile health vans go to where the patients need them most, here in the middle of a brick kiln field

Mrs Bilqees sought help of our health clinic in Hyderabad because she had a fever. While there it was discovered that she had high blood pressure and needed urgent medication.

“She said that this clinic was a model of the love of Christ because it made it possible for her to receive the right treatment at the right time,” said our project partner. “She is thankful as she is able to receive care at her doorstep.”

Project reference: PR1534 (Health clinics in Pakistan)

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