Pakistan's flood victims frustrated with medical care
Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:44am GMT
By Kamran Haider
MUZAFFARGARH, Pakistan (Reuters) - Victims of Pakistan's floods queued to get medical treatment on Tuesday as doctors complained of a shortage of medical supplies to treat a rising number of patients.
Monsoon floods have receded in some areas but aid agencies fear disease, food shortages and malnutrition may create new crises as people head back to their shattered towns and villages and try to rebuild their homes and lives.
"Whatever stock of medicines we have is about to finish and the number of patients will increase in the coming days," said Ashiq Hussain Malik, medical superintendent of Muzaffargarh's main district hospital in Punjab province.
"Nearly 60 percent of patients are suffering from gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, skin and eye infections and the patients who are coming here are in a pretty bad condition."
The United Nations has warned of imminent waterborne diseases, including typhoid fever, shigellosis and hepatitis A and E, and vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever.
The floods have left one-fifth of the country under water, an area the size of Italy. Some Pakistanis have grown increasingly angry with the sluggish government response, and are turning to Islamist charities, some of them tied to militant groups.
The floods have killed more than 1,600 people and left at least 6 million homeless.
Muzaffargarh hospital is treating 1,000 flood victims and that number is likely to rise. People lay on the floor or were using their own rope beds because of a lack of space. Continued...