2.7 million Malaria Cases Reported in Flood-Hit Pakistan

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The second wave of disease outbreak like malaria in Pakistan after the catastrophic floods has led World Health Organization (WHO) to declare Pakistan floods as Grade 3 Emergency. It also led the orgnaisation to urge international community to “do a lot more” for flood-hit Pakistan.

The magnitude of disaster that the nation experienced has been causing health concerns ever since. Just as the flood-ravaged country had risen above the first wave of waterborne disease outbreak, disease like Malaria, Cholera and measles hit Pakistan again.

Health experts suspect that it is because displaced people kept living in the open. Stagnant floodwaters, which is still spread over hundreds of kilometres, have led to widespread cases of skin and eye infections, diarrhoea, malaria, typhoid, and dengue fever.

Experts predict that the floodwaters may take two to six months to recede, which means that the conditions will only worsen. Therefore, they require more immediate help for displaced families exposed to swarms of mosquitoes and other hazards, such as snake and dog bites.

malaria pakistan
A patient suffering from dengue fever sits under a mosquito net inside a dengue and malaria ward

Despite the efforts of the authorities, government, aid workers, and local and foreign relief organisations, many people are still in dire need of food, shelter, medical assistance and medicines.

WHO’s representative in Pakistan Dr Palitha Mahipala said that they are expecting 2.7 million malaria cases in Pakistan by January 2023. Moreover, cholera, measles and dengue outbreaks are among the other diseases which can lead to great loss if not paid immediate attention.

He futher went on to say that

“Outbreaks of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) are being reported from 46 districts of Pakistan while dengue has emerged as another major public health challenge, especially in Karachi and some other 32 districts of Sindh. Unfortunately, the death reporting mechanism is not very strong so we don’t know the actual number of deaths but the situation is getting bad to the worst in the affected districts.”

When asked how the provincial governments of Sindh and Balochistan were responding to the disaster, he said:

“They are doing a good job but a lot needs to be done by the governments and the international community. The scale of the disaster is huge and the second wave of disaster has begun in form of disease outbreaks. A lot of lives are at stake and if immediate steps are not taken, lives saved through early warning systems and timely forecast of floods and rains can be lost due to outbreaks of diseases”.

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Hamna M.
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