Recent flooding has increased the risk of waterborne diseases: health officials

After months of heavy rain, which left people stranded and without access to drinkable water, there has been a significant rise in the cases of malaria and diarrhea.

Recent flooding has increased the risk of waterborne diseases: health officials

According to health officials, the flooding that has displaced millions of Pakistanis is causing an increase in the risk of waterborne diseases across the country.

After months of heavy rain, which left people stranded and without access to drinkable water, there has been a significant rise in the cases of malaria and diarrhea. Authorities have expressed their concern that the spread of waterborne diseases will further strain health facilities. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that more than 880 clinics have been damaged, and the organization has also allotted $10 million to emergency health relief efforts.

The risk of waterborne diseases

Director General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, remarked that the agency had previously classified the floods as the ‘highest level of emergency.’ He added that the threat of waterborne diseases meant that access to health services and disease monitoring should be a top priority.

Director of WaterAid Pakistan, Arif Jabbar Khan also paid a visit to the Sindh province, which has been the most affected by rains. He said that there is an enhanced risk of dysentery and diarrhea due to the scarcity of clean water.

Khan said that people are living on the banks of overflowed canals and rivers in huts made of plastic and bamboo. They even have to drink flood water because of the lack of options, which is a recipe for large-scale disease outbreaks.

Sindh’s Health Minister said that the government has set up 4,210 medical camps for people suffering from waterborne illnesses and skin conditions. In fact, a doctor from the north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province told news sources that patients were first coming with physical injuries because of flooding, but diarrhea is now also a common occurrence.

It is clear that a big number of people have contracted waterborne diseases, and now with the evacuation operations being complete, the authorities should now focus on providing clean food and water.

WHO is also working alongside the Pakistani government to respond to outbreaks of cholera, diarrhea, and other diseases. It also warned of the effect of floods on tackling other illnesses, like polio and measles.

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