November 28, 2010

An overview of ongoing MSF activities in Pakistan related to this summer's massive floods.

Since the beginning of the flooding in Pakistan, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has:

  • Conducted 80,150 consultations at 5 hospitals, 7 mobile clinics and 6 Diarrhea Treatment Centers
  • Screened more than 29,000 children and pregnant and lactating women and treated more than 4,500 malnourished children
  • Distributed 1,825,000 liters of clean water per day and built 843 latrines, 280 shower sites and 130 hand-washing points
  • Distributed a total of 64,836 relief item kits and 16,300 tents
  • Distributed 122 transitional shelters

MSF’s expenditures for the emergency response to the floods has already reached €7 million ($9.18 million). MSF’s 2010 budget for regular activities in Pakistan is approximately €10.9 million ($14.3 million).

Ongoing Flood-Related Activities in eastern Balochistan and southern Sindh provinces:

Water and sanitation activities, including water chlorination, water production, and water distribution through trucking and water storage points, are still providing access to safe water for the flood-affected population. In the Dera Murad Jamali and Dera Allah Yar camps for displaced people, the team produces a total of 681,000 liters of safe water per day. About 278,000 liters of water are distributed daily by MSF water trucks and at water storage points, while the remainder goes to other organizations.

In and around Dera Murad Jamali, the team has installed 69 water taps, 144 water storage points, 6 water bladders, and 32 water tanks, benefiting an estimated 26,000 people. The team has also repaired existing hand pumps in order to ensure that water and sanitation facilities are available for resettling families in surrounding villages. About 779 latrines, 280 showers and 130 hand-washing points were constructed in this area.

In Jamshoro, Kotri, Johi, and Dadu in southern Sindh, an average of 800,000 liters of safe water are provided in camps each day, ensuring each person more than 10 liters per day. The team has installed more than 100 hand pumps in villages situated between Jamshoro and Manzoorabad. Four cleaning teams are working with health promoters to help displaced persons with cleaning activities and waste management in the camps.

Nutritional programs continue through nutrition screening and the establishment of ambulatory and inpatient feeding centers in both eastern Balochistan and southern Sindh. During the flooding in eastern Balochistan, the team saw an increase in the number patients admitted to both inpatient therapeutic feeding centers (ITFCs) and ambulatory therapeutic feeding centers (ATFCs) in September. But numbers started to fall in October as flood-affected families moved back to their villages of origin. From the beginning of September through the end of October, MSF treated 104 severely malnourished
children with complications in the inpatient component of the nutrition program and 110 children with severe cases of malaria and respiratory tract infections.

In the same period, through ATFCs in the Dera Murad Jamali, Usta Mohammad, Mir Hassan, and Sobatpur districts of Balochistan, MSF teams admitted 2,794 malnourished children to the program. Mobile teams started giving hygiene kits and mosquito nets to every new admission and a bar of soap to every child who was brought in for weekly follow-up visits, the goal being to improve hygiene, prevent malaria, and reduce default rates. In southern Sindh (Jamshoro, Sehwan, Johi and Dadu districts), medical teams have screened 12,982 children and 2,790 pregnant and lactating women, 575 of whom were severely malnourished. The team provides weekly plumpy nut rations to malnourished patients. In Shabaz camp in Jamshoro, the team opened a day-care center to service children who refuse to eat or do not gain weight.

Other medical activities: Since the beginning of the floods, medical teams have conducted 12,867 consultations in Balochistan (Dera Murad Jamali) and 17,093 in southern Sindh (Jamshoro, Sehwan, Johi and Dadu). The primary pathologies included skin infections, general body pains, diarrhea, and respiratory tract infections, among other diseases. In Jamshoro and Sehwan, MSF doctors continue to provide mental health consultations to individuals and groups. So far, at least 3,533 people (including children) have received consultations. Teams in Jamshoro continue to assess Basic Health Units in and around the district to gauge which ones could use cleaning, rehabilitation, or the donation of equipment.

Transitional shelters are being distributed to returnees in villages located between Jamshoro and Manzoorabad. MSF provides the a toolkit and shows villagers how to build the shelters, then come back the next day to ensure that shelters are set-up properly. Thus far, 122 transitional shelters have been distributed, and the teams plan to provide 2,000 shelters in Jamshoro and Dadu areas.

End of Emergency Response Activities in northern Sindh Province:

As water finally started to recede in Larkana and Sukkur districts and more actors were present for intervention, MSF decided to close its emergency response in these two districts and focus its efforts on more neglected areas.

In Larkana and Sukkur districts, MSF provided a total of 3,517 relief items packages since the beginning of the emergency, helping at least 24,000 people maintain a minimal living conditions. The water and sanitation team also produced and distributed more than 80,000 liters of safe water per day and built 50 hand pumps to improve the hygiene conditions in the camps. MSF medical teams ran mobile clinics and diarrhea treatment centers and set up 14 oral rehydratation points in various camps to provide much-needed medical care to flood-affected communities. A total of 1,000 consultations were carried out; patients were treated for acute watery diarrhea, skin and respiratory diseases, and more. MSF hygiene promotion teams support both the water and sanitation teams and the medical teams to raise people’s awareness about hygienic living conditions to prevent diseases outbreaks. 

Additionally, the medical team implemented a feeding program through ITFCs and ATFCs. During the emergency, MSF continuously assessed the nutrition situation in and around Sukkur and Larkana. The team screened 9,600 children and admitted 700 malnourished children to the programs, and 195 severely malnourished children who needed intensive care were admitted to ITFCs. At the end of its emergency response in Larkana and Sukkur, MSF handed over the malnutrition and water and sanitation programs to the government and other actors in the areas.

Expanding efforts to serve the neglected population in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town and Gadap Town in Karachi:

An assessment by MSF’s team in southern Sindh indicated that at least 30,000 people in Karachi who were affected by the floods are in need of assistance. Some 20,000 of them live in registered camps and a minimum of 10,000 live in unregistered camps. Those living in unregistered camps receive insufficient support and were found to be very vulnerable, while the conditions for those living in registered camps have deteriorated.

Therefore, MSF has opened a new base in Karachi, serving the flood-affected communities in Gulshan-e-Iqbal and Gadap. Medical services through mobile clinics started on the 13 November and will be followed by nutrition screening and health promotion. The team will distribute at least 1,500 relief item kits and 1,000 tents, serving at least 20,000 people. Safe water and sanitation facilities will also be provided. The team plans to open the base for at least two months until the situation improves.

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Since 1988, MSF has been providing medical assistance to Pakistani nationals and Afghan refugees suffering from the effects of armed conflicts, poor access to health care, and natural disasters in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Punjab, and Sindh provinces, as well as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Kashmir.

MSF does not accept funding from any government for its work in Pakistan and chooses to rely solely on private donations.