Following the devastating monsoon floods, most areas of the country were hit with massive disease outbreaks. In Kachho a far-flung area located on the foothill of the Khirthar mountains, a malaria outbreak is wreaking havoc. The absence of life-saving medicines and doctor absenteeism have taken a heavy toll on the lives of cash-starved people. Several people have been affected in many adjacent villages as well.
The terrible situation in Kachho cannot be blamed on the floods alone as the district was long neglected by the district and provincial administration. Kachho lacks basic facilities and infrastructure. Due to corruption among the authorities and a lack of regulatory checks, the hospitals are not provided with their due share of funds and resources. Doctors and surgeons do not turn up for their duties. Resultantly, nurses and subordinates can be found performing operations and surgeries, which poses a serious risk to the patient’s health.
Even after the flood destruction, the district health officer (DHO) did not form a comprehensive strategy to relocate people to safe areas and ensure that the sick and elderly receive some form of healthcare support. Many precious lives could have been saved if the DHO and other health authorities created a contingent plan before the malaria outbreak. With each passing day, the situation is worsening. In a bid to save their children’s lives, parents are resorting to self-medication and remedies. Despite posting pictures and videos of the devastating situation on social media, authorities have paid little attention to the problem. This criminal negligence has resulted in the loss of many lives. The Sindh government needs to declare a health emergency in Kachho and urgently send medical teams to take necessary prevention measures. The Sindh government must assume responsibility and support the bereaved families during this difficult time.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2022.