by Farhat Rahman

Issue: 46

Journal section: General Article
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Received: 2010-08-12


Of Pakistan’s four provinces, the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) is the smallest, and specific customs in this region form an inseparable part of Pathan society. In the province, there are 1389 general health institutions, and the population per health unit is 12 000. The men are mostly farmers or work as labourers for daily wages. Most of the families belong to very low income groups.

Pathans are men of swords and guns, and the life of a tribal Pathan is governed by unwritten codes which contain values of life and embrace all their activities from the cradle to the grave. Among the Pathans, one of the most evident traditional marks of social status is the relative inactivity and invisibility of their women from the public and social scene. Women perform tasks centred within the family quarters – only fetching water or gathering fuel and fodder, normally take them out of the home in some of the areas.

The world of rural disabled poor women in developing countries is handicapped four times; their poverty, their rural background, their illness, and disability. They have least access to education, skills training, income-generating activities, transport and housing. They also suffer from social disrespect, malnutrition, disease and ignorance, they are less likely to get married and mothers with disabilities face social stigma, poverty and isolation. Most women in this situation spend many hours a day preparing food. This puts them at risk from health problems caused by cooking fires and smoke.

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