Maternal and child mortality is one of the biggest problems Pakistan is currently facing. According to statistics revealed by Population Council data, more than 2800 women lose their lives during pregnancies every year in Sindh only. Considering the fact that women health is a lesser talked about topic especially in Sindh, which is underprivileged, some role models like Nosheen Iqbal have stepped forward with their brilliant and brave efforts.
Nosheen works as head of SPAS (Sindh Peoples Ambulance Service) and is the first woman to help deliver babies inside an ambulance. During the past one year, she has delivered 78 babies and the survival rate is 100%.
SPAS is a government organization working collaboratively Aman Foundation. Nosheen is the only female supervisor in a team of 12 staff members. Nosheen shares that most of these women are between the age of 15 and 25. She says that she guides the women’s families who accompany them in the ambulance on how to save the newborns as it takes approximately an hour to get to the hospital.
Nosheen has been working in this position for about two years and is providing life-saving services to the locals. She makes sure that the services reach them in less than three minutes, she is a superwoman who guides staff, ambulance drivers and controls centre executives. In Pakistan’s patriarchal society where women’s role is generally considered to be restricted to four walls, she is not only breaking stereotypes but also saving the lives of hundreds of underprivileged women.
She is currently pursuing PhD in Development Studies from the University of Sindh. Nosheen owes her achievements to her father, who despite her mother’s disapproval decided to raise his daughters independently. She shares that he moved to Makkli to enrol them into schools even when the rest of the family was against their education. She joined NGO as a social mobiliser and it was a great moment for her when her father himself took her to the NGO’s office.
“On my first day at work, everyone stared at me from head to toe. In rural areas, it is still hard for people to accept that a woman can also work like a man. Unfortunately, they think women are the weakest part of society and are born to take care of the household” – shared Nosheen.
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