My name is Zia Ullah Khan and I am from the village of Hassani Kala Surrani in Bannu district. I have been a volunteer for the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) since 2010 and believe in serving humanity. As a volunteer, I have been involved in many different types of humanitarian activities, including restoring family links, disaster response, mosquito nets distribution and most recently, social mobilization for an immunization project.
There are many issues in Bannu district. Unemployment and lack of job opportunities, especially for women, are major challenges for us. We are also faced with many health problems, including malaria. Bannu district is one of the most vulnerable areas in Pakistan to malaria and until 2019 not many people in the district were sleeping under nets to protect them from mosquito bites
I was very happy to be involved in the mosquito net distribution in 2019. This distribution was organized by the Directorate of Malaria Control Islamabad and Indus Hospital and Health Network, and the PRCS was able to support the distribution through its large network of volunteers. Throughout the distribution campaign, many awareness sessions were being conducted in different areas of Bannu which helped the population understand the dangers of malaria and how mosquito nets can protect us. I am very proud to be a PRCS volunteer, to serve the community and distribute the nets free of charge and to help raise awareness on the dangers of malaria.
I was involved in both the household registration and distribution. The household registration was done using ODK on mobile phones. I used my own mobile phone. Even though I know how to use a smartphone, it was good to be trained by the PRCS in how to use ODK for the registration process. ODK is very easy to use. It is interesting and easier to use than paper.
We did have some issues when uploading the data to the server. All the data had to be scanned and it was difficult to upload all the information at the end of the day when we did not have a stable Internet connection. But it is still a great tool. It ensures transparency and accountability. Such tools are very useful and helpful in our work for community mobilization and engagement, and I think that other health campaigns should be built in a manner for tools like this to be routinely used.
Pakistan needs a lot of support and help to implement projects, especially those that support women and girls who are very vulnerable. We also need a new mosquito nets campaign as the previous one was in 2019. I hope we can get more of this new technology and digital tools to help improve the next mosquito net campaign next year and to help us make better projects to help women and girls in Pakistan.