WHO Sudan

413 Dead In Sudan Fighting: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that 413 people have died in the current Sudan conflict, while the UN children’s agency said children are paying a high price, with at least nine reportedly killed in the fighting and more than 50 badly injured, Turkish News Agency Anadolu reported.

WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris told in a UN press conference that according to figures from the government in Sudan, 413 people have died and 3,551 injured in the conflict.
The fighting is part of ongoing clashes between the country’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

She said there had been 11 verified attacks on health facilities, including 10 since April 15.

“According to the Ministry of Health in Sudan, the number of health facilities that have stopped working is 20. And also, according to Ministry of Health numbers, the number of health facilities at risk of stopping is 12,” said Harris.

“So this means that all those people who need care, and this is not only the people who’ve been injured hearings, terrible fighting, but that the people who were needing treatment before and continuing treatment,” are impacted, said the WHO spokesperson, Anadolu reported.

At the same press conference, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said, “Clearly, as ever, the fighting takes a devastating toll on children.

“We now have reports of at least nine children killed and at least 50 injured. Those numbers will continue to rise as long as fighting continues,” he added.

Elder said large numbers of people are trapped and do not have access to electricity, Anadolu reported.

“They’re terrified of running out of food, water, and medicines,” he said, adding, “One of our grave concerns is around hospitals that have come under fire.”

Elder said Sudan already had one of the world’s highest malnutrition rates among children.

“And we’ve now got a situation where critical life-saving support for around 50,000 children is at risk,” said the UNICEF spokesperson.

The fighting also puts at risk “the cold chain” in Sudan, including over USD 40 million worth of vaccines and insulin, due to breaks in the power supply and the inability to restock generators with fuel, said Elder.

UNICEF also has reports of children sheltering in schools and care centres while fighting rages around them and of children’s hospitals forced to evacuate as shelling moves closer, Anadolu reported.

Elder said before the escalation in violence in Sudan, the humanitarian needs of children in the country were high, with three-quarters of children estimated to live in extreme poverty.

At the same time, 11.5 million children and community members needed emergency water and sanitation services, 7 million children were out of school, and more than 600,000 children suffered from severe acute malnutrition.

Fighting erupted last Saturday between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in the capital Khartoum and its surroundings, Anadolu reported.

Sudan has been without a functioning government since October 2021, when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government and declared a state of emergency in what political forces called a “coup.” (ANI)

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WHO Sudan

WHO Chief: Sudan Heartbreaking, Peace Only Solution

World Health Organisation (WHO) condemned the loss of lives in Sudan on Thursday as clashes continue to deepen between the army and the paramilitaries in the country.

In a statement, the director-general of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the reports of forces occupying health facilities are deeply concerning.
The WHO Chief posted his statement on Sudan’s situation on his Twitter handle and condemned the loss of lives, attacks on civilians and health care.

As of now, more than 300 people have lost their lives due to rage in clashes in Sudan and nearly 3000 are injured.

“The lack of safe access, to electricity, food, water, personnel and the diminishing medical supplies are making it nearly impossible for many health facilities to function at the exact time when there are thousands injured in need of urgent care,” the WHO Chief said further, as he reiterated on his appeal for peace.

“I continue to urge all sides to respect the truce so that: -those trapped by the fighting can seek refuge -civilians can access food, water, and medicine -patients can seek the health care that they need. Peace is the only solution,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres condemned the continuing clashes between the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese armed forces.

“The Secretary-General calls on the leaders of the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces to immediately cease hostilities, restore calm and initiate a dialogue to resolve the current crisis. Any further escalation in the fighting will have a devastating impact on civilians and further aggravate the already precarious humanitarian situation in the country,” the spokesperson for the Secretary-General said.

The United Kingdom on Wednesday also called for an immediate end to the fighting and a lasting ceasefire in Sudan as the tensions continue to rise in the region, every passing day.

Taking to Twitter, the UK foreign secretary, James Cleverly informed that some discussions took place with the Foreign Ministers of Egypt and UAE on how the conflict can be resolved collectively.

“The bloodshed in Sudan cannot continue. The UK calls for an immediate end to the fighting and a lasting ceasefire. Today I discussed with the Foreign Ministers of Egypt and UAE how we can collectively work to resolve the conflict,” the UK Foreign Secretary tweeted.

The conflict between Sudan’s military leader and his deputy on the ruling council erupted four days ago, derailing a plan for a transition to a civilian democracy that had received international support, four years after the overthrow of the previous government by widespread protests and two years after a military coup, as per a report published in Al Jazeera.

A humanitarian crisis, as stated by the UN, has been brought on by the conflict, including the almost complete collapse of the health system. The Global Food Programme of the organization halted operations when three of its staffers were killed.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it was nearly impossible to provide humanitarian services around the capital. (ANI)

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Eye Drops Linked To Blindness

Samples Of Eye Drops Linked To Blindness, Deaths In US Are Free Of Contamination: Health Ministry

The samples of eye-drops manufactured by India’s Global Pharma Healthcare,which were linked to three deaths and blindness in some patients in US, are found to be “free of contamination”, said Health Ministry sources on Tuesday.

According to Health Ministry sources, the US Food and Drug Administratio (US FDA) India has found samples that are tested in a lab in Bengaluru “free of any contamination.”
While talking to ANI, the source said,”Indian samples tested were found to be of standard quality. We found the samples free of any contamination.”

Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has also formally written letter to USFDA, though USFDA has not yet communicated to DCGI.

Today, a joint inspection was also conducted by Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) and Tamil Nadu state drugs inspectors at the manufacturing unit and the manufacturing has been kept on hold till the completion of the investigation.

Earlier, in February, USFDA warned the consumers not to purchase or use EzriCare Artificial Tears due to potential contamination. Using contaminated artificial tears can increase the risk of eye infections that could result in blindness or death.

Global Pharma initiated a voluntary recall at the consumer level of all unexpired lots of EzriCare Artificial Tears and of all unexpired lots of Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears.

After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning in February, a group of drug inspectors from the Central and Tamil Nadu governments conducted an inspection at the company premises which is 40 km south of Chennai. (ANI)

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new COVID-19 variant JN.1

What Is Marburg Disease, Should India Be Worried?

Regarding the Marburg disease, which has been considered fatal by the World Health Organization (WHO), health experts in India said that a new outbreak of the virus has a high mortality rate and is capable of causing severe infections in humans but the virus has already been contained, so there is no need for Indians to worry.
The Marburg virus is transmitted to humans by fruit bats and is spread in humans through direct contact with the body fluids of infected persons, or with surfaces and materials.

Dr Sushila Kataria, Director, of Internal Medicine, Medanta, Gurugram said, “Marburg virus is a rare and highly infectious virus that can cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans. Given the high mortality rate associated with this virus, early diagnosis and treatment are essential. If one suspects that they have been exposed to the Marburg virus, they should seek medical attention immediately.”

According to the WHO, the Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent disease with a fatality ratio of up to 88 per cent. It is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola virus disease. Illness caused by the Marburg virus begins abruptly, with high fever, severe headache, and severe malaise. Many patients developed severe hemorrhagic symptoms within seven days.

On Protective measures, she said, “Protective measures should be taken to prevent the spread of the virus, including isolation and strict infection control procedures.”

Talking about the symptoms, Dr Kataria said within 2-21 days people who are exposed to the virus may experience fever, headache, muscle aches, weakness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

“The symptoms of the same typically appear within 2-21 days of exposure and include fever, headache, muscle aches, weakness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. As the disease progresses, patients may develop a rash, chest pain, cough, and abdominal pain. In some cases, patients may also experience internal bleeding. The diagnosis of the Marburg virus is based on a combination of clinical symptoms and laboratory tests. Blood tests can detect the presence of the virus and confirm the diagnosis,” she said.

“However, in the early stages of the disease, the virus may not be detectable in the blood. In such cases, doctors may perform other tests, such as a liver function test, a complete blood count, or a coagulation profile, to evaluate the patient’s condition,” she further explained about symptoms and diagnosis.

Dr Kataria has also said that the virus has been contained and there is no need to worry for Indians.

“The virus has already been contained, so there is no need for Indians to worry. Additionally, if strict precautions to control infections are taken and followed, then the spread can be controlled. The disease’s spread is limited because 30-80 per cent of those infected die. The virus can spread through bats, their urine, and/or their excretions. It can also spread through direct contact with infected people’s blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids, as well as through contaminated surfaces and materials. Fortunately, it doesn’t spread through the air, restricting its spread,” she added.

Till now, there are no vaccines or treatments found to treat the virus, however, there is supportive care that can improve the survival chances.

A range of potential treatments, including blood products, immune therapies, and drug therapies, as well as candidate vaccines with phase 1 data are being evaluated. (ANI)

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WHO Asks China To Share Data On COVID

WHO Chief: China Under-Reports COVID-19 Deaths

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday said that the organization’s data on the number of deaths from COVID-19 worldwide is lowered due to the under-reporting of cases by China.

“Last week, almost 11,500 deaths were reported to the WHO: about 40 percent from the Americas, 30 percent from Europe, and 30 percent from the Western Pacific region. However, this number is almost certainly an underestimate, given the underreporting of COVID-related deaths in China,” Ghebreyesus told a briefing, according to the remarks published on the WHO website.
The WHO chief urged all countries to share true statistics so as to contribute to a more effective fight against the spread of the disease. Last week, Tedros asked China for reliable data on Covid hospitalizations and deaths in the country.

“We continue to ask China for more rapid, regular, reliable data on hospitalizations and deaths, as well as more comprehensive, real-time viral sequencing,” Tedros said at a media briefing in Geneva. This comment came after WHO held a high-level meeting with counterparts in China to discuss the surge in cases and hospitalization.

Back in December, the Chinese government dropped its zero COVID-19 policy toward the pandemic after almost three years, leading to a mammoth rise in cases in a matter of few weeks. Later in January, obligatory PCR testing and centralized isolation for people arriving in China were canceled.

The sudden spike in the covid tally of China has forced a number of countries, including the United States, Italy, Japan, and South Korea, to tighten measures against passengers arriving from the country.

During the media briefing, Tedros said throughout the pandemic, testing and sequencing helped WHO to track the spread and development of new variants.

“But since the peak of the Omicron wave, the number of sequences being shared has dropped by more than 90 percent, and the number of countries sharing sequences has fallen by a third,” he said.

The WHO chief noted that countries cannot maintain the same levels of testing and sequencing they had during the Omicron peak. However, he added that the world cannot close its eyes and hope this virus will go away.

Tedros underlined that sequencing remains vital to detect and track the emergence and spread of new variants, such as XBB.1.5. “We urge all countries now experiencing intense transmission to increase sequencing, and to share those sequences,” he added. (ANI)

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WHO Asks China To Share Data On COVID

WHO Asks China To Share Real-Time Data On COVID Situation

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus met with Chinese officials and again asked for specific and real-time data on the epidemiological situation in China, according to the statement released by the WHO website.

In the high-level meeting, WHO asked for more genetic sequencing data, data on disease impact including hospitalizations, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and deaths — and data on vaccinations delivered and vaccination status, especially in vulnerable people and those over 60 years old.
WHO reiterated the importance of vaccination and boosters to protect against severe disease and death for people at higher risk.

China’s National Health Commission and the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration briefed WHO on China’s evolving strategy and actions in the areas of epidemiology, monitoring of variants, vaccination, clinical care, communication, and R&D.

During the meeting, WHO called on China to strengthen its clinical management and impact assessment, and expressed willingness to provide support in these areas, as well as on risk communications on vaccination to counter hesitancy. WHO also invited Chinese Scientists to engage more closely in COVID-19 expert networks including clinical management. WHO has invited Chinese scientists to present detailed data on viral sequencing at a meeting of the Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution on January 3, according to the statement.

“WHO stressed the importance of monitoring and the timely publication of data to help China and the global community to formulate accurate risk assessments and to inform effective responses,” the statement reads.

Earlier, on Thursday, Ghebreyesus held a press conference and said that the global body remains concerned over the evolving situation in China as COVID-19 infections witness a new spike in the country after curbs were eased.

Tedros said that the WHO will continue to offer its support for clinical care and protect the shattering healthcare system of China.

“We remain concerned about the evolving situation and continue encouraging #China to track the #COVID19 virus and vaccinate the highest risk people. We continue to offer our support for clinical care and protecting its health system,” Tedros wrote on Twitter.

Regarding the travel restrictions and guidelines issued by several countries for travellers from China, Tedros said that due to the unavailability of an apt amount of information from China about the outbreak, it is understandable that countries around the world are acting in such ways.

“In the absence of comprehensive information from #China, it is understandable that countries around the world are acting in ways that they believe may protect their populations. #COVID19,” Tedros tweeted. (ANI)

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US Intel Report Links China's Biological Warfare Ambition To Covid | Lokmarg

US Intel Report Links China’s Biological Warfare Ambition To Covid

China had revealed its biological weapons ambitions long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, according to a new US intelligence report.

On December 15, the House Intelligence Committee released a declassified report examining the Intelligence Community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic following a two-year investigation.

The report examines the IC’s posture to support global health security policymakers, the IC’s performance in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the steps the IC must take to strengthen any future pandemic response.

“In 2005, the US State Department publicly stated the US assessment that China also operates an offensive biological weapons program, specifically identifying two Chinese entities as likely involved, one of which is the Fifth Institute. In a 2006 declaration of compliance with the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention, China acknowledged that the Fifth Institute specifically researches SARS coronaviruses,” the report reads, as quoted by Indo-Pacific Centre for Strategic Communications.

The US Intelligence report also took note of the book titled “The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Artificial Humanized Viruses as Genetic Weapons,” released by AMMS in 2015.

“The book described how to create weaponized chimeric SARS coronaviruses, the potentially broader scope for their use compared to traditional bioweapons, and the benefits of being able to plausibly deny that such chimeric coronaviruses were artificially created rather than naturally occurring,” the report states.

Last week, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on China to share the data requested by the world health body to better understand the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Gaps in our understanding of post-COVID-19 conditions mean we don’t understand how best to treat people suffering from the long-term consequences of infection. Gaps in our understanding of how this pandemic began to compromise our ability to prevent future pandemics,” the WHO chief said during a weekly press conference.

“We continue to call on China to share the data and conduct the studies we have requested, and which we continue to request. As I have said many times before, all hypotheses about the origins of this pandemic remain on the table,” he added.

Tedros also expressed concern about the evolving situation in China, with increasing reports of severe disease.

Three years after its emergence in China’s Wuhan, exactly how SARS-CoV-2 first emerged as a respiratory pathogen capable of sustained human-to-human transmission remains the subject of active debate.

Experts have put forward two dominant theories on the origins of the virus. The first theory is that SARS-CoV-2 is the result of a natural zoonotic spillover. The second theory is that the virus infected humans as a consequence of a research-related incident. (ANI)

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Centre Forms 4-Member Team To Probe WHO Claims On Maiden Pharma

The Central Government on Wednesday formed a four-member expert committee to investigate the report sent by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the deaths of 66 children in the Gambia by consumption of cough syrups from Sonipat-based company Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited, said official sources.

“Government is alert and formed a committee. Production of cough syrups by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd has been suspended, and a lab report is awaited. Four-member expert committee has been formed to investigate the report sent by WHO,” official sources told ANI.
A committee comprising technical experts Dr. YK Gupta, Vice Chairperson, Standing National Committee on Medicines (chair); Dr. Pragya Yadav, ICMR -NIV, Pune; Dr. Arti Bahl, Division of epidemiology, NCDC, New Delhi, and AK Pradhan, JDC(I), CDSCO has been formed.

According to the reports, Atlanta-based Atlantic Pharmaceuticals Company Ltd which has permission to export medicines to the Gambia ordered combined syrups bottles which were purchased from Maiden Pharmaceuticals limited.

“From the preliminary inquiry of Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), it has been made out that Maiden Pharmaceuticals Ltd is a manufacturer licensed by the State Drug Controller for the product’s Promethazine Oral Solution BP, Kofexnalin Baby cough syrup, MaKoff Baby Cough Syrup and MaGrip n Cold Syrup under reference, and holds manufacturing permission for these products for export only,” the sources said.

The company has manufactured and exported these products only to the Gambia.

“It is a usual practice that the importing country tests such imported medicines on quality parameters, and satisfies itself as to the quality of the products before the importing country decides to release such products for usage in the country. In the present case, it is yet not clear whether these medicines were tested in the Gambia before release,” the sources added.

The WHO has informed that as per the tentative results received by WHO, out of the 23 samples of the products under reference which was tested, four samples have been found to contain Diethylene Glycol or Ethylene glycol.

“WHO has not yet made available a certificate of analysis. It has informed that the same will be made available in near future,” the sources said.

The top officials informed that the exact “one-to-one causal relation of death” has not been provided by WHO to CDSCO although CDSCO has requested WHO twice in this regard.

Earlier in the day, the Haryana government has ordered a halt to the total production of cough syrups from Sonipat-based company Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited.

The company has also been issued a show cause notice for 12 violations found at its manufacturing plant.

State health minister Anil Vij told ANI on Wednesday, “The samples of three drugs of the Sonipat-based pharmaceutical company, which were mentioned by WHO, have been sent to Central Drug Laboratory in Kolkata. The report is yet to come. We will take action only after the report comes. After a joint inspection by Central and State officials, 12 violations were found in the manufacturing facility. … It has been decided to shut down total production. We have sent a notice in this regard.”

The pharma company had come under scanner following the death of 66 children who had consumed the cough syrup in the Gambia.

World Health Organization (WHO) on October 5 issued a medical product alert over four India-made cough and cold syrups manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals. WHO has also notified that the same cough and cold syrups could be linked to the deaths of 66 children in the Gambia. (ANI)

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Total Production To Shut Down: Haryana Min On Maiden Cough Syrup

The Haryana government has ordered a halt of the total production of cough syrups from Sonipat-based company Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited, which was recently flagged by the World Health Organisation (WHO) following the deaths of 66 children in The Gambia.

The company has also been issued a show cause notice for 12 violations found at its manufacturing plant.
State health minister Anil Vij told ANI on Wednesday, “The samples of three drugs of the Sonipat-based pharmaceutical company which were mentioned by WHO, have been sent to Central Drug Laboratory in Kolkata. The report is yet to come. We will take action only after the report comes. After a joint inspection by Central and State officials, 12 violations were found in the manufacturing facility. … It has been decided to shut total production. We have sent a notice in this regard.”

The pharma company had come under scanner following the death of 66 children who had consumed the cough syrup in The Gambia.

World Health Organization (WHO) on October 5 issued a medical product alert over four India-made cough and cold syrups manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals. WHO has also notified that the same cough and cold syrups could be linked to deaths of 66 children in The Gambia.

It said that it was conducting further investigation with the company and regulatory authorities in India. “This WHO Medical Product Alert refers to four substandard products, identified in The Gambia and reported to WHO in September 2022. Substandard medical products are products that fail to meet either their quality standards or specifications and are, therefore “out of specification,” the WHO said.

According to the WHO, the four cough syrups linked to the deaths in The Gambia are Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup.

Laboratory analysis of samples of each of the four products confirmed that they contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants, the WHO had said.

The company was issued a show cause notice on October 7 after a joint inspection with the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation. The pharma company has to reply to the notice by October 14, failing which action may be taken against it.

The Haryana drug controller has listed the contraventions detected during inspections of the pharma company’s facility on October 1 and October 3. They include that complete plant found under renovation. The firm failed to produce the log books of equipment and instruments regarding manufacturing and testing for the drugs in question.

It said the batch number of propylene glycol, sorbitol solution, and sodium methylparaben used in the manufacturing of the drugs in question were not mentioned in the certificate of the analysis report.

“The firm has not performed process validation and analytical method validation for the drug products in question,” it said in the notice.

“The firm has submitted six months of real-time and accelerated stability data of drugs in question. However, at the time of investigation, none of the above-said products were found to be charged in the stability chamber,” the state drug controller said in the notice.

The notice to the pharma company stated that manufacturing and expiry dates were missing on the certificate of analysis of certain batches of propylene glycol. “Propylene glycol (batch number E1007/UP, E1105149) had failed as per certificate of analysis for the test in respect of water but was declared as of standard quality,” the notice added.

Also, batch numbers, manufacturer names, and manufacturing and expiry dates were not found on purchase invoices of items used, including propylene glycol.

The firm has also not performed the quality testing of Propylene Glycol for Diethylene Glycol and Ethylene Glycol, the notice said.

The show cause notice to the pharma company has “served under Rule 85(2) of Drug Rules, 1945 as to why your manufacturing license may not be suspended/canceled. Your reply to this show cause notice must reach this office within 7 days of the receipt of this notice, failing which ex-parte action shall be liable to be taken against you as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 & Rules, 1945.”

Maiden Pharmaceuticals on October 8 in an exclusive input to ANI said: “We are shocked to hear the media reports regarding the deaths and deeply saddened on this incident but we received the official information from our agent at the Gambia on October 5, 2022, and on the subsequent date, World Health Organisation alert was issued against us.”

In an official statement the company’s Director, Vivek Goyal said, “We are in the field of medicines for over three decades and have been diligently following the protocols of the health authorities including Drugs Controller General (India) and the State Drugs Controllers, Haryana.”

He further said that they have valid drug approvals for the export of the products and his company is not selling anything in the domestic market. He also added that his company is obtaining raw materials from certified and reputed companies.

“The government agencies visited our factory on October 1 and October 3, October 6 and 7 October and the samples were drawn by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) along with all relevant documents in question in presence of our directors,” Goyal said in the statement.

The drug regulators had collected the samples of cold and cough syrup from the manufacturing facility of Maiden Pharmaceuticals, after WHO issued a medical alert.

“The samples have been drawn by the CDSCO officials and we are awaiting the results and since the matter is already pending investigation and subjudice, we cannot comment on any other issues and shall update you in the future as and when we receive the information,” he added. (ANI)

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Flood-Hit Pak Malaria

Flood-Hit Pak May See 2.7mn Malaria Cases By Jan 2023: WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday warned of 2.7 million malaria cases in flood-hit Pakistan in 32 districts by January 2023.

The organization urged the international community “do a lot more” for flood-hit Pakistan. Cholera, measles, and dengue outbreaks are among other diseases, reported Geo News.
Declaring Pakistan floods a Grade 3 Emergency, WHO expressed its concern over the second wave of disease outbreaks grasping the flood-stricken areas of Pakistan, The News reported.

WHO’s representative in Pakistan Dr. Palitha Mahipala said that they were expecting 2.7 million malaria cases in 32 districts by January 2023.

Speaking about malaria, Dr. Mahipala said 32 districts of Sindh and Balochistan were “worst-affected” due to malaria where thousands of cases were daily being reported and added that they were fearing 2 million malaria cases by December and around 2.7 million cases by the end of January 2023 from these districts, reported Geo News.

“In order to prevent mortality due to malaria, WHO is providing rapid diagnostic kits and anti-malarial medicines worth USD 2.5 million while technical support is also being provided to the federal and provincial governments to deal with malaria outbreaks. As larvicidal preventive measures are not possible in flood-affected areas, prophylactic treatment and post-exposure treatments are being arranged to treat malaria patients”, he maintained.

“As (WHO) director general had warned earlier, the second disaster in the shape of outbreaks of water and vector-borne diseases has begun in the flood-hit areas of Pakistan,” said Dr. Mahipala.

He said that there are outbreaks of Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) in 46 flood-affected districts while malaria outbreaks are being reported in 32 districts, reported Geo News.

Moreover, cholera, measles, and dengue outbreaks are among the other diseases which can lead to great loss if not paid immediate attention, he told reporters at a briefing at WHO Country Office in Islamabad, reported Geo News.

Terming the approaching winter as the third major challenge in the flood-affected areas, Dr. Mahipala said the combination of water and vector-borne diseases and harsh winters could become extremely lethal for the millions of flood-affected people who are living along hundreds of kilometers of roads in Sindh and Balochistan.

He maintained that WHO has declared the Pakistan floods as a Grade 3 Emergency, the highest level, which means all three levels of the organization — the country and regional offices, as well as headquarters — are involved in the response.

He added that WHO has appealed for USD 81.5 million to deal with disease outbreaks and to provide basic health services to the people at risk, reported Geo News.

Acknowledging the outbreaks of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases including cholera and typhoid in the flood-affected areas, the representative said malnutrition was another serious challenge for the health authorities as mal-nourished children could become easy prey to infectious diseases and added that special campaigns were being launched to vaccinate as many children as possible in the affected districts, reported Geo News.

Responding to a query regarding the provision of clean drinking water to the affected people, he said WHO had provided 4 million aqua tablets that can make water germ free and suitable for drinking while they have established two filtrations in Sindh, adding that they would provide 1000 small filtration plants in the flood affected areas, of which 100 would be procured and installed very soon.

He further informed that WHO has started working on the renovation of 78 health facilities in the flood-affected areas, adding that WHO has pledged to renovate 200 of the most damaged health facilities in the flood-affected areas, reported Geo News. (ANI)

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