WHO warns of 2.7 million malaria cases in 32 districts of flood-hit Pakistan by January 2023. Malaria spreads rapidly in 32 flood-affected districts of the country, where thousands of children are infected with the mosquito-borne disease.
The floods in Pakistan this year were so extreme that the disaster probably began with a tremendous heat wave. In April and May, temperatures in many places rose above 40 °C for extended periods.
In May, the city of Jacobabad reached over 51 °C. It was not normal for heat waves to become the hottest place on earth. Warmer air can hold more moisture. As a result, meteorologists warned earlier this year that extreme temperatures during the monsoon season, which lasts from July to September, would likely result in "above-average" rainfall.
According to a media report on Tuesday, Pakistan's Ministry of Health has approved the purchase of over 6 million mosquito nets from India to curb the spread of malaria and other vector-borne diseases due to the unprecedented floods.
Bilateral relations deteriorated after India repealed Article 370 of the Constitution, revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and dividing the state into two union territories on August 5, 2019.
"To prevent malaria-related mortality, WHO provides $2.5 million worth of rapid diagnostic kits and antimalarial drugs, while federal and provincial governments also receive technical assistance to combat malaria outbreaks. Since larvicidal preventive measures are not possible in flood-affected areas, prophylactic treatments and follow-up treatments are being provided to treat malaria patients," said Dr. Mahipala (WHO Representative in Pakistan)
On the issue of malaria, Dr. Mahipala said that 32 districts in Sindh and Balochistan were "most affected" by malaria, where thousands of cases were reported daily, adding that 2 million malaria cases were feared by December and about 2.7 million cases by the end of January 2023 in these districts.
When asked about providing clean drinking water to the affected people, he replied that WHO had provided 4 million aqua tablets to make the water germ-free and potable and had built two filtration plants in Sindh. He added that they would provide 1000 small filtration plants in the flood-affected areas, and 100 of them would be procured and installed soon.
Given the outbreaks of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases such as cholera and typhoid in the flood-hit areas, the representative said malnutrition posed another serious challenge to health authorities as malnourished children could become easy prey for infectious diseases. He added that unique campaigns would be launched to vaccinate as many children as possible in the affected districts.
He also informed that the WHO has started renovating 78 health facilities in the flood-affected areas, adding that the WHO has pledged to refurbish 200 of the most damaged health facilities in the flood-affected areas.
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