ISLAMABAD, Aug 24 (APP): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to coordinate with the Ministry of Health to timely provide medical services to flood victims, especially women and children.In an opening statement at a review meeting of health situation in the flood affected areas here, Gilani said, “Pakistan and its people are experiencing the worst natural calamity of its history”.He advised the Ministry of Health to take on board different NGOs and international health organizations operating in different flood affected areas.
He directed authorities to make special arrangements for expecting mothers and maternity cases in the flood affected areas.
The Prime Minister appreciated the work of international relief agencies and asked them to work for medical rehabilitation of the flood victims.
He said the devastation of the flood has destroyed lives, property, livestock, crops and infrastructure in the four provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The flood has affected approximately 20 million people to date, damaged more than a million houses, causing 1534 deaths and injuring 2062 people, he added.
He said he visited the areas affected by the floods in all regions and provinces to see first hand the hardships of people who are dangerously exposed to health hazards.
Gilani said the government is concerned about spread of water borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea and dysentery from which 3.5 million children are at risk.
Acute respiratory infections, skin diseases and malnutrition are spreading in many flood affected regions, he said adding the health system has come under great stress due to the devastation of floods.
The floods have damaged more than 200 health facilities and 35,000 lady health workers, out of a total of 100,000 throughout the country, have been displaced. Doctors, nurses, lady health visitors, and paramedical staff have also been dislocated.
The Prime Minister said national and international NGOs are helping in provision of basic medical services.
Various countries and organizations have sent medical supplies, personnel, and equipment to assist in efforts to provide health cover to the affected people. But the difficult living conditions and limited access to clean drinking water have put the lives of millions at risk, he noted.
He said no government in any country can respond to such enormous health needs on its own and international agencies, organizations, civil society and private sector will have to pool their resources for the purpose.
Gilani directed the Federal Health Ministry to take all measures necessary to prevent outbreaks of diseases.
To date, he said, more than 200 tons of medicines have been supplied by the federal government for 2.2 million affectees.
“We have also provided 42106 hygiene kits, including women hygiene kits, as it is estimated that more than 500,000 mothers will give birth in the next six months in the affected areas. Reproductive health kits for 35,000 population for three months have been given to the provinces.”
The Prime Minister said more than 2.5 million aqua tablets have been sent to the provinces to ensure safe drinking water. Since stagnant water may lead to cases of malaria, nets for 300,000 people along with anti-malaria tablets have been provided. Field hospitals are being set up to ensure adequate health service.
He called for a strategy, which combines communicable disease prevention and control, provision of medicines, environmental cleanliness and medical team support for essential services.
He said in disaster management there would be no parallel structures at the government levels to avoid duplication.
A proper feedback system would be activated from the district to the provincial and federal level, he added.