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, International Medical Corps has been delivering services at government health facilities throughout the region since October 2010. 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, International Medical Corps medical teams in Sindh provided 6,621 health consultations. Among the most commonly reported illnesses were acute watery diarrhea, acute respiratory illness, malaria and scabies. International Medical Corps also provided psychosocial support to 39 individuals and health and hygiene education to 2,289. In the first two weeks of September, data from our field teams indicates an increase in the number of consultations of approximately 35 percent due to the recent flooding.
Medical teams are continuously providing emergency health services, including reproductive health and hygiene education. International Medical Corps is also installing hand pumps and latrines as well as providing rehabilitation of basic health units throughout Sindh.
Since immediately deploying local teams in 2010 to respond to the unprecedented flooding in Pakistan, International Medical Corps has provided more than 1.4 million patient consultations through a network of mobile and static health clinics throughout Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkwa provinces. A year after this disaster, International Medical Corps continues to prioritize long-term primary health care services, including mental health, to help those who remain without access to vital resources. As needs have shifted from acute emergency relief to long-term health services and capacity-strengthening, International Medical Corps has expanded existing programs in Pakistan to include Nutrition, Protection, Economic Recovery, Livelihood Activities, and Health Facility Rehabilitation.