International Events

Pakistan Floods and Its Potential Impact on International Public Health

October 4, 2022

World Health Organization (WHO)

Floods in a number of provinces in Pakistan, within a few weeks in September 2022, caused complete destruction of infrastructure, death of more than 1,500 people, displacement of 33 million people and complete disruption of economic, food and health activities. Priority In these disasters, is to save lives and secure shelter and food for the displaced. Then comes the provision of curative and preventive health care services, which were greatly damaged during the disaster and may have serious effects on local and international public health in the long run, especially since Pakistan suffers from spread and settlement of some diseases. infectious.

Health Situation in Affected Areas
World Health Organization estimates that flood has resulted in the following:
  • Disruption of 10% of the health system in Pakistan, representing 1,460 health facilities, of which 432 were destroyed.
  • Disruption of stocks of medicines and medical supplies in the affected areas.
  • Access to health services, the most important of which are maternity centers and neonatal care, was impossible due to collapse of roads and bridges.
  • Almost complete paralysis in the epidemiological surveillance system and the system of medical referrals for patients.
  • Vaccination campaigns stopped.
  • Difficulty of establishing mobile field health centers in the affected areas.

Diseases Probable for Local and Cross-Border Spread:
Pakistan is endemic to a number of infectious diseases, especially in afflicted areas, and the opportunity is ready for their spread due to large concentrations of displaced people, floods, disruption of sewage system, spread of vector mosquitoes, as well as suspension of vaccination campaigns. The most important of these diseases are the following: diseases that cause acute diarrhea, the most important of which are cholera, dengue fever, malaria, typhoid, measles, polio, AIDS, in addition to COVID-19, skin diseases and food poisoning in IDPs. There are currently active outbreaks of cholera, malaria and dengue fever.

Responding to a Health Emergency
All efforts are initially focused on:
  • ​Providing adequate shelters for the displaced, food, clean drinking water and adequate sanitation, in addition to efforts to control disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes, as well as awareness campaigns.
  • Providing the necessary primary treatment and preventive services, as well as the necessary laboratory diagnosis.
  • Intensifying epidemiological surveillance and reporting activities in the places of the displaced.

WHO Assessment of Health Status
Due to extensive destruction of infrastructure and disruption of health services in the afflicted areas in Pakistan and presence of a number of outbreaks of infectious diseases, the number of deaths is likely to increase and the opportunity for spread of diseases at local and external levels is great and that health services need a long time to restore their activity. The World Health Organization estimates that health system in the affected areas needs 115 million dollars to restore its basic activity and ensure continuation of providing necessary treatment and preventive services.

Last Update : 09 October 2022 11:24 PM
Reading times :