Monday Dec 05 2022
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Delay in mosquito nets’ import from India risks health of flood affectees

A Pakistani paramedic checks a child at a makeshift medical camp set in Dadu district, Sindh province on September 27, 2022. — AFP
A Pakistani paramedic checks a child at a makeshift medical camp set in Dadu district, Sindh province on September 27, 2022. — AFP 

  • Govt decides to import 62,00,000 mosquito nets from India.
  • Ministry awaits NOC from cabinet division for said import.
  • Around 41,000 malaria cases surface from flood relief camps.

ISLAMABAD: The purchase of mosquito nets from India has gotten difficult, officials said, as the National Ministry Of Health requires a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Cabinet Division.

Officials said that the delay in getting the NOC has increased apprehension as it was decided that the 6.2 million nets imported from India were meant to be sent to the flood-affected areas in Sindh and Punjab.

Authorities have shared that purchase of the mosquito nets from India will be done through the Global Fund, while the Ministry of Commerce has already issued the NOC.

As per the authorities, it will take around six to eight months to import mosquito nets from any country other than India, while local manufacturers can also produce good quality nets.

Meanwhile, the delay in the provision of mosquito nets has put the lives and well-being of people — particularly of those among Sindh's flood-affected population — in jeopardy as over 300,000 people have suffered from malaria in the province this year, while 50 people have lost their lives.

According to the provincial health department, more than 364,000 people have fallen victim to the disease in Karachi from January till date which includes women, children, and the elderly affected.

Around 41,000 cases surfaced from relief camps for flood affectees, as per the health department. In 2022, malaria tests of over 2,534,000 were done across the province among which the most number of cases — approximately 51,341 — surfaced from Thatta, while 50,205 cases were reported in Larkana.

At least 8,752 malaria cases from all of Karachi’s districts were reported in 2022, while the least number of cases — around 2,052 — were registered in Sanghar. 

Meanwhile, there is a clear difference between the number of deaths due to malaria in Karachi reported by the health department and those by the director of general health.

According to the provincial health department’s report, 23 have died due to malaria in Sindh, while the DG health reported 30 deaths in district Dadu alone. On the other hand, an increase in cases of malaria and dengue is expected in the province due to the winter season.

Last month, a report published by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) stated that as many as eight million people in flood-hit areas need medical assistance as diseases continue to spread unabated.

The UN agency's 100-day report mentioned that about 13.5 million people are in need of protection services while the floods have impacted the education of 3.5 million children.