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ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Pakistan on Thursday said that Pakistan’s flood crisis is particularly tough on poor women as estimates show that 650,000 women in flood-affected areas are in need of access to maternal health services.

At a briefing to share women and child health and protection update, the deputy head of UNFPA and officials from Pakistan Humanitarian Forum and National Humanitarian Network said that as many as 73,000 women had to deliver babies during September 2022.

Malnourished pregnant women are also at risk of giving birth to low birth weight babies who will be malnourished. Women already have insufficient food and water to consume but in this case they do not eat and drink whole day just to avoid to go for defecating.

This is also creating malnutrition in women. The situation of pregnant women is worse. There are no arrangements in most of the camps. One of our NHN organizations reported that in one of the camps in Sindh two women delivered babies without having anything, no clothes for the baby and no trained birth attendant.

Women form their camp managed her delivery which is off course would have health issues. There had been no arrangement of any transport to take that to the hospital as well. It was also seen that lady doctors are not there at the relief or medical camps and women having issues are not able to communicate to male doctors. This happened in the end of September 2022.

The floods doubled the protection risks for women and children. Family separation, theft, Gender based violence, rapes—women and girls remain vulnerable. More than half of the women in Sindh and KP have insufficient access to latrines.

Women and girls do not have access to menstrual hygiene items and this is causing sever issues of maintaining their hygiene. In some places at Sindh where the hygiene kits / dignity kits have been distributed, there is no mechanism of disposal.

The World Health Organization expressed deep concerns about the potential for a “second disaster in Pakistan: a wave of diseases and deaths” following the unprecedented floods and mostly it will affect women and children.

Floods have triggered the dire need of protection mechanisms and restoration of the security and dignity of the displaced women.

Majority of women have lost their livelihoods (especially women working in the fields). So they will have no cash flow for another six to eight months or may be for years.

The upcoming winter season is haunting these women and they want to rebuild their houses at the earliest and want to leave the camps, however there is 2-5 feet flood water surrounding their areas.

Malnourished pregnant women are also at risk of giving birth to low birth weight babies who will be malnourished.

Around 650,000 pregnant women in flood-affected areas face challenges in getting access to maternal services. More than 73,000 women are due to give birth in the next month -- in the throes of the crisis.

Distribution of 6000 inter-agency reproductive health (IARH) kits, clean delivery kits, newborn baby kits and dignity kits in designated women and girls-friendly spaces. The women are sensitised to the need for personal hygiene to keep themselves and their children safe from the outbreak of disease.

Children are facing a nutrition emergency that is threatening the lives of millions of children - more than 1 in 9 children in flood-affected areas of Pakistan suffering from severe acute malnutrition

As winters approach there is an upward trend in acute respiratory diseases, with children being affected the most. An average of 24% of reported cases are Acute Respiratory Infection with 1/3rd children.

271 outpatient therapeutic treatment centres for the prevention, detection and treatment of cases of severe acute malnutrition and other forms of malnutrition.

Expanding nutrition services through 73 mobile health teams in the 84 flood-affected districts, coupled with health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and protection services that are critical to save children's lives

Medical camps have benefited over 30,100 people in Sindh, over 18,000 people in Balochistan, nearly 18,100 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and over 3,700 people in Punjab.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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