Following the torrential rains and flooding, Pakistan’s population is now faced with a new issue. Infants lie on hospital beds, some of whom are battling for their lives and others who have already succumbed to illnesses brought on by the accumulated floodwater that has killed people and afflicted millions.
Fatalities occur every hour, and the hospital’s hallways are filled with the wails of guardians who have done all their power to stop the worst from happening. In Pakistani hospitals, cholera is the leading cause of baby mortality. Bacteria that can be acquired from consuming contaminated drinking water are what causes the sickness.
Numerous areas of Pakistan now often experience other waterborne illnesses. For instance, the Mother and Child Healthcare Hospital in Pakistan’s Sindh Province record roughly ten child fatalities per day. All of them are brought on by ailments from water-related illnesses, which were mostly brought on by the most recent floods.
Numerous young patients are crowded together inside wards and the emergency room of the same hospital. Children are seen crying out in agony while some are still unconscious in the heartbreaking sights. Patients who are obviously malnourished and seem pale and skinny are cared for by nurses.
In the hopes that their children may survive, the parents of the patients wait impatiently outside the emergency department.
“The floods came, and the rain fell. And then our patients came in like the floods,” said Dr. Nazia Urooj.
The problem is unprecedented, experts said, and Pakistan now more than ever needs assistance from outside agencies. However, many healthcare facilities have not yet offered assistance, and if this pattern continues, the situation might worsen and result in additional infant fatalities.
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Only the beginning
Pakistan’s floods have claimed the lives of almost 1,600 people, while the increasing water has reportedly impacted an additional 33 million people. The catastrophe was brought on by melting glaciers in Pakistan’s north and monsoon rainfall.
Citizens were left at community centers without access to food or clean water to drink due to the water forcing them from their houses. Moreover, there is no access to other areas of the nation. For instance, due to impassable roads, Sindh residents have a challenging time getting medical care.
“Many children are not even reaching hospitals because the medical facilities they could access are either underwater or just not accessible,” said Aardarsh Leghari, the Communications Officer of UNICEF based in Pakistan.
Pakistan is plagued with many diseases
A number of ailments have now taken center stage as the floods are almost over and the water is slowly receding. The illnesses that have arisen as a result of the floods include dysentery, diarrhea, dengue fever, malaria, and others.
In addition to spreading illnesses, the flood displaced individuals from their houses or possibly rendered them completely homeless. For instance, Rani takes her ailing three-year-old kid to the Mother and Child Healthcare Hospital to get him medical attention. Despite her son’s illness, she reveals that their present living situation—on the side of the road with only a plastic sheet covering their roof—means that her health does not get any better.
The morning and the night provide new challenges, Rani said. She and a few other relocated families struggle with the sweltering heat in the morning, and at night, insects bite them.
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“We burn waste so mosquitoes cannot bite (the children). We remain active at night so our children can sleep,” Rani said.
Leghari claimed that mosquito infestations cause Pakistan’s problems.
“There are no mosquito nets. It’s the mosquitoes that are bringing in malaria and disease. The other is cholera. It’s like a plethora of diseases coming out of these floodwater lakes. This is going to turn into a bigger health crisis,” he said.
Grandmother Mai Sabagi sobs as she remembers her five-year-old granddaughter, who had recently passed away from cholera.
“All this has happened because of the rains. We lost our clothes – everything. Our house has been damaged. We have not been given any relief. Poor people cannot afford treatment,” Mai said.