The World Health Organization (WHO) has targeted 32 priority districts out of 84 affected by recent floods in Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab.
People, especially women and children, face the risk of different diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, malaria, dengue fever, skin infections and typhoid due to limited health services.
WHO Country Representative Dr Palitha Mahipala at a press conference on Saturday shared the challenges the WHO was facing in providing medical assistance to people affected by the floods and said he s It was a disaster whose magnitude was too huge and unprecedented until now.
He said that to cope with the overwhelming number of child births each day in flooded areas – around 2,000 deliveries per day – WHO has designed a mobile labor ward modality to reach areas where access for women in hospitals is difficult.
Dr Mahipala said around 580,000 people are currently displaced due to flooding and countless families can be seen sitting in camps along the roads awaiting food and medical assistance. The situation is alarming especially in Sindh and Balochistan, he said. In addition, malnutrition and stunting in children also pose serious health risks, he said.
In order to address these challenges, WHO is working in close coordination with government and donor agencies as well as stakeholders on several fronts, the country representative said. To address the challenges of malnutrition, 100 new nutritional stabilization centers will start operating over the next two weeks.
The WHO has already released $10 million to support the health response to the floods to treat the injured, provide medical supplies to health facilities and prevent the spread of infectious diseases and epidemics.
In addition, $618,048 was funded to provide essential drugs, emergency stocks, medical supplies, water purification kits, tanks, tents, ORS sachets and tents, it said. he said, adding that between the provinces, support has been distributed in response to the flood emergency.
Total drug, equipment and other logistical support amounts to $2 million, he said, adding that ongoing drugs and diagnostics amount to more than $5 million. Mobile clinics – vehicles to be donated amount to approximately US$500,000. The WHO has produced dashboards, including a logistics dashboard, to provide an overview of its operations and the current situation in flood-affected areas, he said. In the areas affected by the floods, already 330 teams recruited and trained by the WHO are working for health care and medical assistance. WHO also provided 4 million water purification tablets.
The WHO has also started construction of half of the 400 fully damaged primary health care centers and 30 of them have already been completed, he said.