Sonia Shah School hosted its annual medical camp, providing students health check ups by certified volunteer physicians. These routine check ups allow to identify and treat acute illnesses, enabling young boys and girls to stay in school. The medical camp at SSS includes vitals, blood draws, vaccines, eye exams and supply of vitamins, prescribed medications and more.
Blood and urine samples were taken from 185 students as well as all the staff to test for 11 conditions ranging from Malaria, Typhoid, Dengue to HIV. Every student is given a medical card with his/her blood group and medical information so they can be monitored. Most of these students would never visit a doctor unless in emergency. Taking preventive measures of testing for and treating illnesses, if any, gives them a better chance at leading healthy lives.
A United Nations report from 2018 presents numbers on illiteracy and health disparities among the women of Pakistan. Findings state that 98.8 percent of Pakistani women coming from the poorest rural households have six or less years of education, with the most deprived population being Pashtun women. They suffer the most in terms of having their literacy and healthcare needs met.
In third world countries, there is an apparent gender gap in quality education as students get older, mostly due to social and cultural factors. Lack of health resources poses a barrier for quality education, especially for women who have reached the age of reproduction. The scarcity or unavailability of feminine hygiene products, insufficient access to water and/or separate toilets has kept menstruating girls from continuing their education, with most dropping out and staying at home. They are asked to take part in domestic labor or forced into early marriages. They are also victims of sexual abuse and trafficking, making them susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases and other health issues.
As a non-profit focused on promoting education for girls and women, we acknowledge this gender gap in quality education. Our near future goal is to break down health barriers to girls’ education by making sanitary products available for our female population. With the help of the medical camp, we hope to keep our students informed and aware of the importance of maintaining their health. Healthy, educated women means working mothers who will positively impact their families and surrounding communities.