Various diseases are expected to strike millions of flood victims following the devastating floods caused by heavy rainfall that has hit Pakistan since mid-June.
As reported by The News, health experts who have sounded the alarm about disease outbreaks in flood-affected areas of Pakistan predict that at least five million people, including children, will get sick from water-borne and vector-borne diseases within the next four to 12 weeks.
Health experts warn that flood victims spread across Sindh, Balochistan, South Punjab, and Kyber Pakhtunkhwa are at risk of developing diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, gastroenteritis, typhoid, and vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria.
Experts say that the medical treatment of the flood-affected disease outbreak was initially estimated to require Rs1 billion to be used to meet the needs of medicines and medical supplies. Experts hope donors, philanthropists, and ordinary people can help donate these costs after consulting health experts and rescue and welfare organizations officials.
Renowned public health expert and Vice-Chancellor of the Islamabad Academy of Health Services (HSA), Dr. Shahzad Ali, said that children would be more vulnerable to disease due to weak immunity. He warned that outbreaks of acute diarrhea and other water-borne diseases could kill hundreds of children and adults if precautions were not taken immediately.
Furthermore, Dr. Khan also stressed the need for immediate vaccination of all people in flood-affected areas against typhoid cholera and the initiation of prophylactic malaria treatment to prevent deaths from vector-borne diseases.
Meanwhile, according to Sufyan Ahmed, Managing Director of Al-Khidmat Health Foundation, which coordinates with charitable and welfare organizations for relief operations in flood-hit areas across Pakistan, in the absence of any guidelines, a considerable quantity of unwanted medicines were being donated which go to waste or are misused in the name of the flood victims.
Fortunately, Ahmed said that now his party, with the help of the Pakistan Public Health System Pharmacistshase, managed to prepare guidelines for relieving operations, which helps provide a complete list of medicines, medical supplies, and other things needed by patients in the uncomfortable moment.
Ahmed added that health authorities have also coordinated with local pharmacies and charity and welfare organizations to help them reach the affected areas that are in dire need of medical supplies.
The collaboration facilitated by the local pharmaceutical company Pharmevo and the Al-Khidmat Foundation has successfully provided Rs5 Million of medicines for the affected areas of Sindh and Balochistan in the first phase.
He said that immediate medical treatment for flood victims is a big task that the government alone cannot handle, which is why the involvement of all individuals and organizations is needed to deliver operations for effective results.