The helpless infant with an angelic face was just one of the estimated 21 million victims of flooding that has destroyed so much in Pakistan over the past month.
Weak and seriously dehydrated, 18-month-old Sudais was brought to an International Medical Corps diarrhea treatment center in the northwestern town of Nowshera. Our medical team worked quickly to rehydrate him, while the boy’s mother, covered in a maroon shawl, cried quietly at his bedside. As physicians and nurses treated him, the boy’s condition stubbornly refused to stabilize.
Sudais’ grandfather, Fazalur, said the infant had developed diarrhea and began vomiting the previous evening–symptoms International Medical Corps’ physicians say are a common reaction after drinking contaminated water.
“By morning, his condition had seriously deteriorated,” the grandfather said. “He was very dehydrated.”
The family elder described how they had rushed Sudais from their nearby village to a doctor in Nowshera, about 15 miles east of Peshawar. He related how the doctor, after a quick examination, had told them to take Sudais to the International Medical Corps’ diarrhea treatment center.
After several hours Sudais’ condition stabilized.
“We are thankful to the doctors here for their care and attention”, the boy’s grandfather said.
The treatment Sudais received is sadly common for those affected by the flooding. On the day we treated Sudais, our staff also treated more than 80 other patients suffering from acute watery diarrhea. International Medical Corps’ Dr. Niaz Mohammad said 35 of those cases were serious enough to admit for longer term treatment. He explained that as flood waters have begun receding, diarrhea, which if left untreated can lead to dehydration and sometimes death, is approaching epidemic proportions. “When the patients arrive here, they are all as critical as Sudais.”