WHO concerned over soaring diseases due to floods in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD — The World Health Organisation has expressed fears about an impending second disaster of water-borne diseases in Pakistan in the wake of devastating floods that has wreaked havoc in several parts of the country.

In a statement issued by the WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the global health watchdog said that water supply was disrupted in flood-hit areas of Pakistan, forcing people to drink unsafe water which could cause cholera and other diseases.

The WHO has cautioned people across flood-hit areas of Pakistan, precisely the worst affected Sindh province to be extra careful.

Tedros on Saturday highlighted that stagnant water serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and spreads vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue and urged donors to continue to respond generously to “save lives and prevent more suffering”.

Separately, the WHO Director general tweeted that he was “deeply concerned about the potential for a 2nd disaster in Pakistan, spreading disease and threatening lives following the flooding”and asked for quick support to tackle the issue.

“If we act quickly to protect the health system and deliver essential services, we can reduce the impact of this impending health crisis,” he tweeted.

Situation in Pakistan continues to be grim as the devastating floods have caused havoc in the country, precisely Balochistan and Sindh provinces.

At least 1,545 people have been killed due to the floods across Pakistan and an estimated 16 million children impacted.

The WHO has immediately released USD 10 million from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies which enabled the global health body to deliver essential medicines and other supplies to the country.

The Sindh health department, meanwhile, said a total of 2.5 million patients had been treated at different medical camps across the province from July 1 to date, the Dawn newspaper reported.

As many as 594,241 patients were treated for skin-related diseases, followed by diarrhea (534,800), malaria (10,702), dengue (1,401), and other diseases (120,745,1), stated a report by the Sindh Directorate General Health Services.

The report also showed that 90,398 patients were treated during the last 24 hours, of which 17,919 had diarrhea, 19,746 had skin-related diseases, 695 had malaria and 388 had dengue.

Around 92,797 people were treated in the province on September 15, the paper reported.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the health department said that its officials are already struggling to stem the spread of dengue hemorrhagic fever in flood-hit districts of the province, The Express Tribune newspaper reported. — (PTI)