Transforming experiences: Supporting health-care facilities at Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar

Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) in Peshawar is the tertiary health-care facility that caters to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Recognizing how essential the hospital's services are, and how stretched their resources, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) signed an agreement with LRH to build its staff's skills and improve the facilities.

With ICRC's support, LRH has established a clubfoot clinic, orthopaedic workshop, nursing skills lab and learning resource centre within the accident and emergency department. Recently, the department was also accredited by Khyber Medical University as a teaching institute for Continued Medical Education for its Golden Hour training.

Hakimullah, Hospital Patient

The first thing I want to do is run like I used to before and take my life back to normal again. I had not only lost my leg in a road accident, I had also lost the desire or hope to live. I don't think anyone can really understand what it is like to lose a limb.

Hakimullah, who lives in Swat, was brought to LRH's orthopaedic department and fitted with a prosthesis. Supported by the ICRC, the hospital offers specialist skills and facilities for patients like Hakimullah, who do not have access to quality health care. "I can now look forward to life because of the empathy and continuous care that the hospital staff offered me. They not only treated me physically but also kept motivating me not to quit. I'm leaving this hospital a content man," he says.

Hussain Muhammad, Surgical Emergency Nurse

As a nurse, I am usually the first point-of-contact for patients coming into the operation theatre, many of whom are in very unstable conditions. This is why I enrolled in the first batch of the basic life skills training program that was conducted with the ICRC's support. Knowing how to properly administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be the difference between life and death for patients, something we as nurses have to deal with many times a day.

Muhammad Tariq, Orthopaedic Lab Technician

Earlier we used to make prostheses using some basic tools. It was a slow process that could take several days to make a perfect one. But now, latest machines have been installed that has made the production of prostheses and orthoses much faster, saving several hours of work. The most rewarding part is that we can cater to more patients every day. It is very satisfying to see patients come in from far-flung places and receive free-of-cost treatment that they would otherwise not be able to afford.

Najma Khan, Club Foot Clinic

Her smile and the warmth that her parents always greet me with motivate me to come to work every day. But some cases break our hearts, especially when families delay or ignore treatment due to lack of information about the club foot condition. We often encounter such stories. It is so important that we raise awareness about the treatment for club foot because the condition is completely curable if treated at the right time.

Khalid Khan, Information Desk

It is not easy to manage the number of people who throng the hospital's information desk. But it used to be 10 times harder to manage the crowd before we implemented the triage system. Now, when patients approach the information counter, I make sure they go through triage at the filtration clinics and then I guide them to follow the coloured lines on the floor to the specific doctor they are supposed to meet.

Overcrowding and chaos often cause delay in treatment for patients in the accident and emergency department. The new triage system filters patients at the entry point and prioritizes them according to their health-care needs. They are then guided to the relevant department. Such streamlining helps in providing prompt and effective treatment to patients, while also reducing stress. We hope that the LRH will serve as a model for other hospitals to implement this efficient patient-handling system.