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Floods in Pakistan | Medicine shortages could lead to a health disaster

September 19, 20224 Mins Read

Medicine shortages | As the floodwaters recede, waterborne diseases are rising in northwest Pakistan. In order to treat the displaced individuals living in overcrowded camps, doctors do not have medicine because of the Medicine shortages. Gul Makai was evicted from her home after flooding engulfed her hamlet in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan. Even while the water has subsided, the floods has left behind filthy conditions that make it simple for hazardous germs to spread. In this isolated region of Pakistan, access to clean water and medicine is limited. Makai is using a handheld fan to try to calm her wailing baby son while she is staying in a flood shelter 4.8 kilometres (three miles) from her home.

The 11-month-old plays fidelity on a plastic floor mat, repeatedly scratching the scabies-infected skin on his body. Her other two kids have the infection as well. Microscopic mites that delve into the skin propagate the disease.

“Seen on his body are sores and scabs. In this tent, the oppressive heat makes him so miserable that he scrapes them with his fingers and sobs “Makai informed DW. Around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) and 60% humidity are the predominant humidity levels.

Flood destruction displaces communities

Swat district was one of the most affected locations in northern Pakistan by last month’s record flooding, which wiped away infrastructure and homes. Swat district is located in a river valley surrounded by mountains. On the grounds of a school, local authorities erected tent camps for displaced people. Makai claimed that after arriving at the camp, she was given a prescription for scabies cream but no other medical care.

Due to a lack of potable water, cholera, diarrhea, and dysentery are also on the rise in the displacement camps.

At a camp in Saidu Sharif, the capital of Swat, Nauman Khan from the Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA), a medical NGO, explained to DW that sickness was being spread by stagnant rainwater that was being used for drinking and washing.

There have also been reports of dengue fever cases brought on by mosquitoes. According to Khan, repellant and mosquito netting are required.

Because pads and tampons are not readily available, he continued, women are also unable to maintain menstruation hygiene. The repetitive usage of a piece of cloth [by menstruation women] was the reason, he discovered after finding eight cases of yeast infection in only one day. Painkillers are likewise inaccessible to women.

The medicines and herbal tea often used to relieve period pain are not available, a 23-year-old lady informed DW in an anonymous statement. We have to walk around or drink warm water to feel better, but those at-home cures can’t keep men from finding out about something that is very private to us.

Medicine shortages

More medication is urgently required, according to aid agencies, to halt the spread of waterborne infections following the disaster. Drugstores are running low on antibiotics, painkillers, and medications for diabetes, eye infections, gynaecological problems, and skin problems.

Many of Asadullah Khan’s acquaintances in Swat have contacted relatives in other parts of Pakistan in an effort to obtain insulin and other medications, but have discovered that pharmacies are out of stock, according to Asadullah Khan, an aid worker for the Pakistani social welfare charity Edhi Foundation, who spoke to DW.

Khan, who is located in the Kalam area of the Swat valley, adding that a WHO delegation visited a nearby hospital and pledged to provide critical drugs and other supplies.
Because a price cap increased the cost of production and forced the suspension of manufacture, pharmaceutical companies have accused the government of being to fault for drug shortages.

“How will we [businesses] continue producing a finished good if the cost is higher than the permitted price? It’s a straightforward business rule, “Hamid Raza, the chairman of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, said DW.

He stated that if the government raised prices in line with inflation, the problem would be fixed. Mohammad Saleem Khan, the Swat District health officer, warned DW that if medical supplies are not given out right away, a health catastrophe could get out of hand.

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