Pakistan Deploys More Doctors to Fight Diseases After Floods – The Diplomat

Pakistan sends more doctors to fight diseases after floods

Villagers cross a flooded area to move to higher ground after heavy rains in Lasbella, a district in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province, Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

Credit: AP Photo/Hamdan Khan

Pakistan has deployed thousands of additional doctors and paramedics to the country’s worst flood-hit province to limit the spread of diseases that have killed more than 300 people among flood victims, officials said Friday.

Some of the doctors who refused to work in Sindh province have been fired by the government, according to the provincial health department there. Floods have killed 724 people, including 311 children and 133 women, in the province since July.

The monsoon rains and floods, which many experts say are driven by climate change, have affected 33 million people, caused at least 1,596 deaths and damaged 2 million homes across Pakistan.

About half a million flood survivors are homeless and living in tents and temporary structures.

Over the past two months, Pakistan has sent nearly 10,000 additional doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to serve survivors in health facilities and medical camps in Sindh province. About 18,000 doctors and nearly 38,000 paramedics are treating survivors in the province, according to health department data.

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Floods have damaged more than 1,000 health facilities in Sindh, forcing survivors to travel to other areas to seek medical care.

Waterborne and other diseases in the past two months have killed 334 flood victims.

The death toll prompted the World Health Organization last week to sound the alarm of a “second disaster” as doctors on the ground struggled to fight the outbreak.

Some flooding in Pakistan has receded, but many districts in Sindh are still under water, and displaced people living in tents and makeshift camps face the threat of gastrointestinal infections, dengue and malaria, which are on the rise in relief camps.

The devastation has prompted the United Nations to consider sending more money than it committed to under its $160 million flash appeal to help Pakistan’s floods.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is in New York, will address the UN General Assembly on Friday to seek more help from the international community.

His office said Sharif met with US President Joe Biden at a reception for world leaders gathered in New York for the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Sharif was due to deliver his speech at the United Nations on Friday.

On Thursday, the Pakistani leader tweeted his thanks to Biden for highlighting the plight of flood victims and urging the world community to help Pakistan as it was still under water and in need of help. Washington is a key supporter of Pakistan’s flood response.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry says 123 flights with help from various countries and UN agencies have landed. Local authorities are distributing these supplies, which include tents, food items, kitchen sets and bottles of drinking water, among flood victims across the country.

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On Wednesday, Julien Harneis, the UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan, said: “The humanitarian situation remains dire in flood-affected areas of Pakistan, with extensive damage to physical infrastructure and ongoing damage to people and livestock.

Outbreaks of diarrhea, typhoid and malaria are increasing rapidly, he said, as millions of people sleep in makeshift shelters or in the open in close proximity to stagnant water. Over 134,000 cases of diarrhea and 44,000 cases of malaria were reported in the worst-hit area of ​​Sindh this past week.


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