Pakistan deploys more doctors to fight diseases after floods

Pakistan deploys more doctors to fight diseases after floods

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan has deployed thousands of extra doctors and paramedics to the country’s worst flood-hit province to limit the spread of diseases that have killed more than 300 people among flood victims, officials said Friday.

Some of the doctors who refused to work in Sindh province have been fired by the government, according to the provincial health department there. Floods have killed 724 people, including 311 children and 133 women in the province since July.

The monsoon rains and flooding, which many experts say is driven by climate change, have affected 33 million people, caused at least 1,596 deaths and damaged 2 million homes across Pakistan.

About half a million flood survivors are homeless, living in tents and makeshift structures.

Over the past two months, Pakistan has sent nearly 10,000 additional doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to serve survivors at health facilities and in medical camps across Sindh province.

About 18,000 doctors and nearly 38,000 paramedics are treating survivors in the province, according to data from the health department.

Floods have damaged more than 1,000 health facilities in Sindh, forcing survivors to travel to other areas to seek medical help.

Water-borne and other diseases in the last two months have killed 334 flood victims.

The death toll prompted the World Health Organization last week to sound the alarm of a “second disaster”, with doctors on the ground battling the outbreak.

Some floodwaters in Pakistan have receded, but many districts in Sindh remain under water, and displaced people living in tents and makeshift camps face the threat of gastrointestinal infections, dengue and malaria, which are on the rise in relief camps.

The devastation has prompted the United Nations to consider sending more money than it committed under its $160 million flash appeal to support Pakistan’s flood response.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who is in New York, will address the UN General Assembly on Friday to seek more help from the international community.

On Wednesday, Julien Harneis, the UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan, said: “The humanitarian situation remains dire in flood-affected areas of Pakistan, with extensive damage to physical infrastructure and ongoing damage to people and livestock.

Outbreaks of diarrhoea, typhoid and malaria are increasing rapidly, he said, as millions of people sleep in temporary shelters or in the open in close proximity to stagnant water.

Over 134,000 cases of diarrhea and 44,000 cases of malaria were reported in the worst-hit area of ​​Sindh this past week.

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