KIRF Maternal Health Programme
7 March 2011
Imperial medics and senior members of the Faculty of Medicine attended an event at the House of Lords on 26 January, to discuss the Kashmir International Relief Fund’s (KIRF) project to develop maternal healthcare services in Azad Kashmir.
Final year medical student Adeel Iqbal (pictured), who won an Imperial Outstanding Achievement Award in 2009, has worked with the KIRF over the last year to pioneer a pilot programme delivering antenatal and postnatal care to women from poor backgrounds living in rural areas in Kashmir.
Adeel was selected by KIRF to pioneer the project, based on his previous experience working with the Kashmiri government and the Medical Advisory Committee to Kashmir. When the project started in March 2010, Adeel discussed his ideas with Imperial professors, who suggested ways of carrying out the project, such as working with local teams to educate and treat patients.
The pilot project, which won Department for International Development and Voluntary Service Overseas funding was carried out over a six-month period involving a dedicated team of UK doctors and nurses who flew to Kashmir to implement many of Adeel’s ideas. They identified complicated cases, treated women who would otherwise have been abandoned, and provided healthcare literature and educational seminars to the community.
As a result of this pilot programme, KIRF and members of Imperial were invited to the House of Lords by Lord Avebury, to discuss avenues for extending this work, so that thousands more women could benefit. The event was attended by MPs, professionals and the media, as well as organisations such as Maternity Worldwide, the World Health Organisation and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Professor Alan Fenwick (Public Health) attended the event and spoke highly of the KIRF initiative. Addressing guests, he discussed the importance of collaboration, and the need to invest in resources and academic expertise in the developing world.