(By Nadeem Wagan)
Three months after the worst floods in southern Pakistan's history, nearly three quarters of a million people remain displaced in Sindh and a third of the affected area remains under water, of some 800,000 homes severely damaged, some 328,000 were totally destroyed, according to the report of NDMA & PDMA. “As the flood destroyed homes, women continue to live in makeshift shelters along exposed roadside and “Most women lack access to clean drinking water, latrines, mosquito nets or adequate food. Even those lucky enough to have secured temporary shelter are highly vulnerable. There is little or no access to medical services or spaces for safe breastfeeding or delivery.”
Of the more than five million people currently affected by the floods in Sindh, according to the report of NDMA & PDMA. approximately 143,750 of them are pregnant women. Of these, 15 percent - or 21,562 women - will need medical treatment for obstetric complications. “Privacy” is a serious health issue for women, particularly pregnant and lactating women. “They are trapped, exposed on the roadside, and there are no private latrines, The men can go anywhere, anytime, but the women must wait until night-time, under cover of dark, and with darkness they are vulnerable to other abuses. Breastfeeding a baby must wait until nightfall if there is no appropriate shelter. Gynaecological examinations and delivering a baby are further complicated by cultural issues. Female doctors or health visitors are in desperately short supply. Local hospitals are non-functional, treating only emergencies. Traditional birth attendants have also been affected by the flood – caring for their own displaced families. “Babies cannot wait for funding to be born. In this situation requested to all health concerned national & International NGOs to pay heed health services of women because women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty.