June 30 – BHI to Fund Training of LHV/Midwife in the Misgar Valley

Bill Hanlon, Basic Health Int'l, and KADO rep Imran Khan interview potential health trainees, Misgar village just north of Sost, Hunza Valley, Karakoram Range, PakistanThe following morning we drove the 23 km north and west to Misgar. The approach to Misgar village is especially beautiful this time of the year. The fields were vibrant with wheat/barley and alfalfa crops with snow capped peaks towards Mintaka and Kilik Passes in the background. The water in Misgar is very pure. It looks so clear as it runs through the human made channels throughout the village.

We had a breakfast meeting with Mr Abdullah and the LSO coordinator and board member at his home in Misgar. He has a beautiful garden, full of vegetables and fruit trees.

Misgar is an oasis in a very dry mountain landscape. In many ways it is a model village in their agricultural practices and community support/engagement.

We visited the Misgar Dispensary with Mr Abdullah. He now has a medical technician working with him.

He appeared to have quite a good supply of medicines and dressings.

There is currently no LHV/midwife working in Misgar. All pregnant women have to travel to Sost to deliver their babies.

Intermittently, the 16km gravel road from Misgar to the KKH gets blocked by mud/rock slides and occasionally snow in the winter months.

BHI has agreed to spend up to 480,000 rupees (20,000 rupees/month x 2yrs) towards the training of one selected candidate from the Misgar Valley to complete the combined LHV/Midwife 2 year program at the Aga Khan University in Karachi. The selected candidate will need to commit to working in the Misgar Valley for a minimum of 3 years after completing the program.

We met with some LSO representatives and 4 potential candidates for the LHV/midwife training program.

We explained that the position would be open to all candidates from the Misgar Valley. The selection of the candidate should be fair and transparent and go to the best qualified applicant. The selection should come from the LSO and confirmed by KADO and BHI.

Misgar village has landline phone access but no mobile phone or internet connectivity yet. We discussed e-health possibilities once there is connectivity in the future. We did discuss the possibility of e-health training for health workers from Misgar at the KADO IT Centre in the future.

We also met with two Basic Health Workers, one works in a room attached to her home in the main village(where we met) and the other is assigned at the lower end of the village. They help with vaccinations and mother/child care in their community.

We then visited a Female Youth Vocational Training Centre. The program has been operational for 6 months and is run by a very enthusiastic female teacher. They have a number of sewing machines that help produce their clothing products. With Imran’s help, we discussed developing a marketing plan once the products are made. Imran indicated that KADO could help with a marketing program and training.

We then visited a Women’s Carpet Making Centre and viewed some of their fine products. They would also benefit from more education in the marketing area.

We visited the old British built Post Office. It was built in 1915 and is still operational today as a post office. Misgar was historically part of the old Silk Route for caravans of human and animal movement over Mintaka and Kilik Passes into Central Asia.

We tried to arrange a visit with shepherds at Mintaka(4827m) and Kilik Passes(4726m) prior to our arrival.

Unfortunately both areas are closed to westerners for polital/security reasons.

We returned to Sost later that day.

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