Recent flooding in southern Pakistan has disrupted health services in 22 out of 23 districts in Sindh province. Flood waters have resulted in 226 deaths and damaged or destroyed more than one million homes – approximately 5.3 million people have been affected. Having already deployed to Sindh in response to the 2010 floods, HANDS has been delivering services at health services throughout the region since October 2010 in flood affected areas. We have mobilized our local medical teams in response to the recent flooding and will focus on assessing needs and responding as necessary.
According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) there is an immediate need to control communicable diseases which could quickly spread by stagnant floodwaters. In addition, among the one million women of reproductive age affected by floods in the region, more than 100,000 are pregnant and may require medical assistance, according to UNFPA estimates.
Since the beginning of September, HANDS medical teams in Sindh provided 6,621 health consultations. Among the most commonly reported illness were acute watery diarrhea, acute respiratory illness, malaria and scabies. HANDS also provided psychosocial support to 3452 individuals and health and hygiene education to 9,376. In the first two weeks of September, data from our field teams indicates an increase in the number of consultations of approximately 80 percent due to the recent flooding. Medical teams are continuously providing emergency health services round the clock, including reproductive health and hygiene education. .