Islamabad: Health experts in Pakistan have sounded the alarm regarding the outbreak of disease in flood-affected areas, estimating around five million people to fall sick in the next four to 12 weeks.
People in the flooded areas of Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are likely to get diarrhoea, cholera, gastroenteritis, typhoid and vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria, The News quoted the experts as saying.
It is estimated that a disease outbreak would initially require medicines and medical supplies worth 1 billion PKR, they said, and urged donors, philanthropists and common people to donate these after consulting health experts and officials of rescue and welfare organisations.
Of the 33 million people affected due to monsoon rains and floods across Pakistan, it is estimated that around five million people, including children, would get sick due to outbreak of water-borne and vector-borne diseases in the next four to 12 weeks, The News reported.
“As there is no clean drinking water available in the flood-ravaged areas, there is a risk of outbreak of diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid, gastroenteritis, dengue and malaria,” renowned public health expert and Vice-Chancellor of the Health Services Academy (HSA) Islamabad, Shahzad Ali told The News.
He said children would be more vulnerable due to weak immunity and warned that an outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea, and other water-borne diseases could kill hundreds of children and adults if immediate preventive measures were not adopted.
“There is an urgent need to vaccinate all the people in the flood affected areas against typhoid-cholera. This vaccine is available in the country and it can be deployed to prevent deaths from typhoid and cholera in Sindh and Balochistan. Similarly, prophylactic treatment of malaria should also be started to prevent deaths from the vector-borne disease,” Khan said.
On the other hand, officials of the welfare organisations working in the flood-hit areas said a large number of people, including women and children, had already started suffering from water-borne infections, including diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, cholera, fever, flu, allergy, scabies and other fungal skin ailments.
“We also believe that around Rs1 billion would be required initially to meet the medical needs of sick people in the flood-hit areas as hundreds of people are getting sick due to water-borne and vector-borne diseases in these areas,” said Sufyan Ahmed, Managing Director of the Al-Khidmat Health Foundation, who is coordinating with the charity and welfare organisations for relief operations in the flood-hit areas.