In September 2011, Sindh Province in Pakistan was hit with heavy monsoon rains resulting in flooding that affected 5 million people and killed 200. Having still not fully recovered from the unprecedented, previous floods in 2010 that affected 20 million Pakistanis, left 2,000 dead and inundated one-fifth of the country, Sindh was crippled by the recent floods. Floodwaters barraged numerous communities in poverty-stricken districts and damaged government health facilities, critical equipment and medicines. What’s more, many health care staff were displaced by the disaster leaving a large segment of the flood-affected population without health coverage.
International Medical Corps teams, which were already working in government health facilities in Sindh since October 2010, are today providing medical services to the affected population. International Medical Corps also deployed 20 additional rapid response medical teams to the worst-affected districts of Tando Mohammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Noshero Feroz, Umerkot and Mirpur Khas to provide much-needed emergency healthcare services. Most of the patients seen by our medical teams are suffering from acute diarrhea, high fever, scabies, and acute respiratory infection.
In Rural Health Center Chuhar Jamali, District Thatta our local medical team stepped in to assist in delivering a baby as the government health staff was displaced by floods. The patient named Kazbano, was experiencing labor pains and was brought to our team by her family as we were the only healthcare service providers in the area. Kazbano was immediately admitted and examined by International Medical Corps staff who arranged necessary supplies and medicines for the delivery and also kept her under observation. After one hour a healthy baby was delivered successfully without any complications, weighing 2.5kg.
On another day, our medical team based at Tehsil Headquarter Hospital (THQ) Jati, District Thatta were called to a nearby village to respond to a potentially life-threatening emergency – a brother and sister were struck by lightning during a heavy downpour and required immediate intervention.
“We were shifting our belongings since the rain water was rising in our home, suddenly a lightning hit the ground and I found my son and daughter unconscious” said the patients’ father, Mohammad.
International Medical Corps’ doctor assessed that the patients’ blood pressure was low, inserted I/V lines and provided first aid immediately. Our team then transferred them to the International Medical Corps-supported THQ Jati where they were kept under observation and given ongoing care. The Medical Officer did physiotherapy since the patients were unable to walk and prescribed exercises they could do to help in recovery. When the patients returned for a check-up, our team was happy to see that they were recovered and once again physically fit. They thanked International Medical Corps for providing life-saving services.
International Medical Corps has treated more than 40,000 patients during the month of September in Sindh.