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WHO on healthcare services in flood-affected areas

ISLAMABAD: World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Country Representative in Pakistan, Dr Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala on Saturday assured that essential healthcare services will be provided in flood-affected areas.

In a media briefing on WHO’s participation in relief work in flood-hit areas, he said that the WHO was working on a plan to assist in future preparedness for having effective healthcare systems.

The WHO country head said his organization was fully aware of the devastation caused by the recent floods in Pakistan.

He said flood has caused serious damage to health service delivery which resulted in varied health risks. He added an upward trend was observed in affected areas for various diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, malaria, dengue fever, skin infections and typhoid.

“Under the leadership of national and provincial authorities, WHO has promptly acted with its partners and took urgent steps to ensure the continuation of essential health services delivery and was supporting the government of Pakistan for health systems recovery through the build back better approach”, he added.

He maintained that tremendous work was done by healthcare workers in the flood-affected areas. He also appreciated the federal and provincial governments for the provision of basic healthcare services to the flood victims.

He said keeping in view the flood devastation, WHO has expanded operations on the ground by establishing three Operational Hubs at Naseerabad, Sukkhar and Hyderabad, and 10 emergency operation centres in flood-affected areas in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He added that WHO has provided support worth US $ 618,048.08 million in terms of essential medicines, emergency stockpiles, medical supplies, water purification kits, tanks, tents and sachets. Among provinces, support has been distributed in response to flood emergency, he said.

Dr Palitha said WHO was supporting more than 2,000 medical camps to ensure that people have access to basic and essential health services and added that WHO has repurposed mobile health teams toward flood-affected districts to conduct outreach and facility-based medical services, including maternal, neonatal, and child health (MNCH), psychosocial and nutritional support.

He said that the WHO was also ensuring women’s access to safe deliveries. The referral systems have been supported including for women who have complications of pregnancy and those with medical or surgical emergencies.

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Hissan Sheikh

Karachi's S M Law College graduate Hissan Sheikh writes on crime and local politics etc.