Wednesday February 08, 2023

Unicef assures Pakistan of providing: 2m mosquito nets for flood victims, say officials

December 09, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Following an ‘indefinite delay’ in the procurement of mosquito nets from India, the Unicef has assured the Pakistani authorities of providing two million insecticide-quoted bed nets to protect women and children from malaria in the flood-hit districts of Sindh and Balochistan, officials said on Thursday.

“Unicef has officially conveyed to us that they have placed an order for the procurement of one million mosquito nets from China, which would be delivered within next few weeks. These bed nets would be used to prevent women and children from malaria and other vector-borne illnesses in the areas of Sukkur, Dadu and other districts of Sindh as well as Nasirabad district of Balochistan,” an official of the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHS,R&C) told ‘The News’.

Around 32 districts of Sindh and Balochistan are facing an outbreak of malaria after devastating floods where thousands of malaria cases are being reported on a daily basis but the government refused to give a ‘waiver’ to the Global Fund for the procurement of around 6.2 million mosquito nets from India despite a no-objection by the Commerce Ministry and recommendations from the National Health Services.

The NHS official further informed that the Unicef has also committed to procure another million bed nets from China and a total of two million bed nets would be provided in the next few months to help in combating malaria in the flood-affected districts of Sindh and Balochistan.

Despite drop in temperature in the flood-affected areas, no drop in malaria cases was witnessed in the month of November and the cases of both Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest form of malaria, were reported from the flood-hit districts of Sindh and Balochistan.

Due to the financial crisis, the Pakistani authorities have stopped most of the imports and in order to meet the medical needs of the people in the flood-hit areas, the health authorities are now relying on the support from the World Health Organisation (WHO), Unicef and other humanitarian organisations as well as friendly nations, the official added.

The Unicef officials also confirmed that after realising the problems of flood victims, especially women and children, they decided to provide at least two million mosquito nets to the government of Pakistan for distribution in the flood-hit areas of Sindh and Balochistan, where malaria is spreading like a fire.

The Unicef official, who requested anonymity, maintained that the mosquito nets would be provided to women and children who were already facing the problem of malnutrition and in these circumstances, they could not be left without protective gear, especially mosquitoes. “We have provided antimalarial drugs and rapid testing kits in abundance but it is also important to prevent those who have not yet contracted the disease,” the official added.