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Health crises after floods

The tragic events are just starting to take place. As the floodwaters move southward, a population that didn’t have much to start is confronted with almost insurmountable obstacles.

Large swaths of Pakistan have been inundated, killing thousands of livestock and submerging standing crops and homes. Over 1,200 people have now lost their lives.

WHO reports that almost 900 medical institutions have been damaged, with 180 destroyed. Stomach problems and skin infections have skyrocketed since people cannot exercise or even do basic hygiene due to the widespread availability of stagnant water.

Nearly 200,000 cases of acute watery diarrhea and dysentery were reported among children in flood-affected districts in August, according to the government of Sindh. This is a potential humanitarian crisis because it will take time to bring the damaged hospitals back in working order.

Health care facilities are inadequate in many Pakistani cities, while rural areas are much less well-served. Primarily staffed and easily accessible primary healthcare institutions have been underfunded in some regions of Sindh and Balochistan.

When severe vehicle accidents happen on highways between cities, and many of the injured die because they cannot get to a hospital fast enough, the disparity in healthcare access is brought into sharp focus.

Meanwhile, chronic health problems have emerged in certain communities due to socioeconomic status differences, a lack of education, and even cultural behaviors. In Pakistan, 38 percent of children under the age of five are stunted; in Sindh, that percentage is nearly 50 percent. Eight million people are infected with hepatitis C, making this country the second most afflicted in the world. At least 17 cases of polio have been documented since September, marking the beginning of a resurgence after a 15-month absence.

While Covid-19 did not do as much damage here as in some neighboring countries, thanks to a centralized government reaction and maybe some as yet undiscovered elements, the floods are causing a serious and fatal health disaster. Its scope will be revealed in the coming weeks and months when the sheer number of victims strains all available aid.

Mahnur Mehfooz
Written By

Mahnur is MS(development Studies)Student at NUST University, completed BS Hons in Eng Literature. Content Writer, Policy analyst, Climate Change specialist, Teacher, HR Recruiter.

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