At the end of October 2011, as CDRS was concentrating its efforts on deploying its Mobile medical team in the flood affected areas of Mirpurkhas and The Thar Desert in Sindh, CDRS ended its support of the government RHC (Rural Health Center) in Chikar due to new disasters being a priority for CDRS and our donors. CDRS served the People of Chikar Union Council and its surrounding areas with great dedication ever since the earthquake, however it was time for a change as the area had long since normalized from the earthquake disaster of 2005: houses and villages were fully rebuilt, proper roads to Muzaffarabad had been repaired, the people of the area had fully recovered from the earthquake, and for many years they enjoyed excellent free healthcare at the CDRS sponsored RHC. The community health insurance program that CDRS had established in early 2009 to give the people of Chikar an avenue of ensuring a long term, stable and effective health facility for years to come had collected more than 1 million rupees (over $10,000) from patients, however, the vision for the program was never fully realized because only those citizens who needed regular treatment and medicines for chronic ailments would regularly support the program with their monthly payments. Everyone else just continued to expect excellent free medical services without contributing, as though CDRS and its donors could just continue forever supporting 100% of their healthcare needs. With other disasters in the World and Pakistan, You (our donors) wanted your money to go for current missions in the flood areas, and in Haiti and Japan. Utilizing donor money in the best way is always my first priority, so we suspended our operations with an offer to the people of Chikar that we would be happy to come back and formulate a new plan with them and the government if they would be willing to help fund the project. Simultaneously, a new Prime Minister and government had come into power in AJK, so it took a few months before the new officials had settled into their new jobs. When I was finally able to meet the new Secretary of Health for AJK, I asked him about Chikar and he said that they were increasing the government's budget for medicines, supplies and doctor's salaries and so he wouldn't need us in Chikar as much as some areas that were more remote and currently a higher priority for assistance by charitable organizations such as CDRS. He then requested for CDRS to start a project in Leepa Valley, an area of around 60,000 people that is nestled between a 10,000 foot mountain and the disputed border with India (The Line of Control) and only had a small Pakistan Army medical post. CDRS has always coordinated directly with the AJK government on where to operate, so I told him we would support the small facility with some medicines and then, after spending some time their to assess the best way to help, we would consider starting a project there. We have now seen and understood the needs of the area for ourselves and are ready to begin fundraising for a project to support the healthcare needs of families in this very harsh, poor and remote place. As our mission has evolved and grown over the years, CDRS has built a great reputation for 1) deploying mobile medical teams and volunteers, providing logistical support to doctors and medical students coming in from all over the World during the earthquake, IDP and flood disasters, and 2) providing long term rehabilitation to damaged or destroyed healthcare systems (AJK, Swat, Charsadda, Shikarpur), but we also have distinguished ourselves in implementing successful programs for school health and special patients. We plan to greatly expand these programs in the coming months, and are very thankful for the support and faith you have given us which allows us to do such amazing, award winning Humanitarian work. Please see the attached CDRS Newsletter to read about these expanded programs which are changing the lives of children and families for the better, one person at a time.
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