THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has sounded the alarm over an im-pending second disaster in Pakistan of disease and death as concerns grow over the spread of water-borne diseases among the flood-hit people.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said if we act quickly to protect the health system and deliver essential services, the impact of this health crisis can be reduced.
The floods have already wreaked havoc, claiming hundreds of lives and sweeping away the houses and livelihoods of the people.
The miseries of flood- affected people are far from over as the people are now faced with the threat of diseases.
The stagnant water serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and vector borne diseases such as malaria and dengue.
Since the people of these areas have no access to clean drinking water, the risk of cholera and other diseases is also higher.
Hence, the very warning of the WHO should ring alarm bells in our concerned authorities and the needful should be done to save the precious lives from diseases.
The Sindh government has taken the right step by announcing new SOPs for schools in Karachi in the wake of the dengue outbreak.
The SOPs include regular spraying and proper solid waste management in educational institutions.
As the water is receding, spraying should also be done in other flood affected areas.
The provincial governments must provide mosquito nets to the flood victims besides ensuring that the medical camps in the flood ravaged areas have all the necessary medicines to deal with the outbreak of any disease.
These medical camps should have the facility to test the people for malaria and dengue. In addition, special emphasis should be given to provision of potable water to the affected families.
Both the federal and provincial health departments should stay alert to avert this second disaster.
The way UN agencies are supporting Pakistan in putting in place a disease surveillance system so that the outbreaks can be detected forthwith is really commendable and we expect that the international community will continue to extend the assistance till these flood victims are rehabilitated back in their homes.