During the monsoon season, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa saw an increase in the number of people diagnosed with acute watery diarrhoea, a condition caused by dirty drinking water, poor sanitation, and poor hygiene conditions. In response to this, the teams from the international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Ministry of Health set up temporary treatment centres in Timergara, Hangu and Sadda. Some 2,840 patients received treatment since the monsoon season began in July.
“Although acute watery diarrhoea is an easily treatable disease, it can spread quickly,” says MSF medical coordinator Dr Jacob Maikere, “Prevention is as important as treatment. Access to improved sanitation facilities and clean water are vital to mitigate the spread of waterborne diseases like this.”
In Timergara, 1,786 patients have been treated at the district headquarter hospital, more than a quarter of them children under the age of five. Some 1,054 patients have been treated at a 20-bed treatment centre in Tehsil Headquarter hospital in Hangu.
MSF also support other healthcare activities in the district headquarter hospital in Timergara. In response to the increase in patient load in the mother and child health department, MSF is building a brand new extension to its existing facility that will open early November. MSF has been supporting the casualty department of the hospital – including the resuscitation room, observation rooms and emergency operating theatre – since 2009. Some 1,200 patients receive treatment each week in the hospital’s emergency room. MSF staff carry out mental health counselling and other health promotion activities, and supervise sterilisation facilities, waste management, and the hospital’s blood bank.
MSF has been working in Pakistan since 1986 with Pakistani communities and Afghan refugees who are victims of armed conflict and natural disasters or who lack access to medical care. MSF teams are currently providing free emergency medical care in Kurram Agency (FATA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Sindh provinces.
MSF relies solely on private financial contributions from individuals around the world for its work in Pakistan, and does not accept funding from any government, donor agency or military or politically-affiliated group.