SUKKUR: Numerous individuals affected by the heavy rains and flooding in southern Pakistan gather around the clinic’s door to speak with a volunteer doctor.
The village of Bhambro is located in an underdeveloped area of Sindh province that has been severely affected by unprecedented floods that have destroyed more than a million homes and damaged vital infrastructure, including healthcare facilities throughout the nation.
The surrounding farmland around Bhambro is extensively inundated, and the streets are littered with manure and debris, creating ideal conditions for the spread of diseases like cholera, malaria, and scabies, as well as other skin conditions.
According to Sajjad Memon, one of the doctors at the clinic run by the charitable Alkhidmat Foundation, “skin diseases are the main problem here because of dirty, stagnant water and unhygienic conditions.”
He examined patients with his phone’s flashlight as they mainly complained of rashes and scabs on Tuesday.
Many people had made their way to the clinic by wading through muddy floodwater and mud in their bare feet.
“My child’s foot is burning with pain. My feet too,” said Azra Bhambro, a 23-year-old woman who had come to the clinic for help.
Scabies and fungus infections are becoming more prevalent, according to Abdul Aziz, the medical director of Alkhidmat’s local clinics.
According to the World Health Organization, scabies outbreaks are frequent in crowded, tropical settings, such as flood relief camps and shelters, and they can cause excruciating itching and rashes.
Memon told AFP that many of the clinic’s patients lacked the means to buy shoes.
The WHO warned in a statement on Tuesday that the millions of flood victims face serious health risks, including the risk of contracting potentially fatal illnesses like malaria and dengue fever.
The southern Pakistani province of Sindh has been particularly hard hit, with large areas of land submerged and many villagers being forced to travel to big cities for shelter, food aid, and medical care.
For the tens of thousands of people seeking refuge in crammed relief camps, as well as in places like Bhambro where health services are already scarce, the threat to their health is even greater.
The WHO stated that current outbreaks of diseases in Pakistan, such as acute watery diarrhea, dengue fever, malaria, polio, and Covid-19, are getting worse, especially in camps and places where water and sanitation facilities have been damaged.