Direct Relief International is expediting the in-country delivery of urgently needed medical supplies to organizations supporting people affected by flooding in Pakistan. Abbott Laboratories in Pakistan is donating the children’s oral rehydration solution Pedialyte and the pharmaceutical Entamizole, used to treat gastrointestinal infections including acute amoebic dysentery and giardia, which are common when people are exposed to contaminated standing water in flood situations.
American Refugee Committee and Marie Stopes Society in Pakistan will be receiving the medical aid. These longtime partners of Direct Relief are working to treat people with waterborne illnesses and other conditions at emergency medical camps in the affected areas.
“Our teams are quickly running out of medicines and the public health issues are just beginning,” reported Jill McGrath Jones, program director at ARC Pakistan. “We have seven basic health units running in Swat as well as one or two medical camps (depending on coordination). In Balochistan, we operate seven basic health units in three Afghan refugee camps, and since the flooding are sending mobile health teams to Sibi, Nasserabad, and Jaffarabad toward the south; the need is great there.
“Skin and eye infections are rising as people are wading in and using contaminated water and mud,” she continued. “Acute watery diarrhea is rising daily. In Balochistan the teams are seeing about five cases of malaria per day now in one basic health unit. With stagnant water everywhere, this is expected to rise. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa there have been ongoing fears of cholera and suspected cases, and there is a confirmed case this weekend.”
Quetta Hospital in Balochistan province is also identifying needed medical supplies to treat an influx of patients streaming into the capital city because of flooding. The medical team affiliated with St. Luke’s Church in Abbottabad has treated more than 1,800 patients.
With an estimated 20 million people affected by flooding, waterborne diseases are a serious health threat. Direct Relief’s response team is working closely with partners to deliver the aid they request to assist people in Pakistan during this large-scale emergency.