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A disease outbreak in flooded areas is expected to make 5 million people sick over the next 12 weeks.

According to The News, health experts have warned of a disease outbreak in flood-affected areas and predict that five million people may get sick in the next four to 12 weeks.

Health experts cautioned on Tuesday that people in the flooded districts of Sindh, Balochistan, southern Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are likely to contract diarrhoea, cholera, gastroenteritis, typhoid, and vector-borne illnesses like dengue and malaria.

According to their estimates, a disease epidemic would first require Rs 1 billion worth of medications and medical supplies. They invited donors, philanthropists, and regular people to donate these after consulting with medical professionals and representatives of rescue and welfare organisations.

“Of the 33 million people affected by the monsoon rains and floods in Pakistan, it is predicted that five million people, including children, will become ill in the next four to 12 weeks as a result of the emergence of water-borne and vector-borne diseases.

According to renowned public health expert and Vice-Chancellor of the Health Services Academy (HSA) Islamabad Dr. Shahzad Ali, there is a risk of an outbreak of diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid, gastroenteritis, dengue, and malaria in the flood-devastated areas because there is no clean drinking water available.

Due to their weakened immune systems, he claimed children would be especially susceptible, and he cautioned that failure to take swift preventive action could result in the deaths of hundreds of children and adults from an outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases.

“Typhoid-cholera vaccinations for all residents of the flood-affected districts are urgently required. This vaccine is accessible nationwide and can be used to stop cholera and typhoid fatalities in Sindh and Balochistan. To prevent mortality from the vector-borne illness, preventative therapy for malaria should also be undertaken, according to Dr. Khan.

He urged the authorities to make anti-snake venom and anti-rabies vaccines widely accessible, noting that KP, Sindh, and Balochistan had recorded hundreds of cases of snake and dog bites.

Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, a former director-general of health and an authority on infectious diseases, believed that children in flood-affected areas were the most vulnerable and required immediate medical attention. He also believed that provincial immunisation programmes should target unvaccinated children.

“Children are at risk of contracting measles, which may spread like wildfire among the displaced populace in addition to diarrhoea and other water-borne illnesses.

Another hazard is polio, and regrettably, we have observed wild poliovirus 1 circulating in numerous places in Punjab and KP. It is also capable of spreading to other cities where it has not yet been identified, according to Dr. Safdar.

A large number of people, including women and children, have reportedly already begun to experience water-borne illnesses such as diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, cholera, fever, the flu, allergies, scabies, and other fungal skin conditions, according to representatives of welfare organisations working in the flood-affected areas.

As hundreds of people are becoming ill due to water-borne and vector-borne diseases in these areas, we also believe that approximately Rs 1 billion would be required at first to meet the medical needs of sick people in the flood-hit areas, said Sufyan Ahmed, managing director of the Al-Khidmat Health Foundation, who is coordinating with charitable and welfare organisations for relief operations in the flood-hit areas throughout Pakistan.

According to Ahmed, a significant amount of useless medications were being donated without any rules, which led to their wastage or improper use in the name of flood victims.

“With the help of the Pakistan Society of Health-System Pharmacists, we have created guidelines for relief operations in these circumstances.The whole list of medications, medical equipment, and other necessities for patients who are now in distress is provided by these guidelines, Ahmed stated.

He then made a reference to the manual, which contained information on a number of medications for anti-infectives (oral), cough and cold preparations, pain/colic, fever management, pregnancy or female care, antacids, wound dressing, vomiting/nausea (oral), anti-diarrheal (oral), and other basic first aid supplies. The list also included a number of medical items for the hospitals that are necessary in the flood-affected areas.

He added that the local pharmaceuticals, charity, and welfare organisations were working together with the health authorities to help them get medical supplies to the impacted areas.

“One such engagement was facilitated between local pharmaceutical firm Pharmevo and Al-Khidmat Foundation, and the former is giving the latter with Rs 5 million worth of pharmaceuticals for the impacted districts of Sindh and Balochistan in the first phase,” he said. “The government cannot handle the crisis alone; it is a huge task. As a result, we are involving everyone and organising the effort to produce successful results.

According to him, the new project was designed to provide patients with access to basic professional care for their medical needs that are superior to what the local infrastructure can provide in an extremely dire circumstance.