Karachi, Pakistan; August 19, 2010: Focusing on its strengths in medical care and community health, AKU is dispatching several volunteer teams of doctors and nurses to flood-affected areas across Pakistan, to help address the health care issues being faced by people displaced by the disaster. The University’s employees have also contributed a day’s salary, funds which will be used to arrange medical supplies for the affectees.
Two teams of volunteers are already in the field. One is supporting an AKU camp providing mother and child services in Naushero Feroz in Sindh and the other is working in Bilal Colony in Karachi. Four more teams will be operational by Monday, one in Karachi and the others in Hyderabad, Matiari and Larkana.
Over the next few weeks, up to 50 multidisciplinary teams will be deployed in priority areas identified by the UN and provincial agencies in Sindh, the Balochistan border area, southern Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan. The final deployment will be around 100 teams.
The focus will be women, children and the elderly as their regular problems have been compounded by flood-related health risks. AKU is putting together teams of five persons each including a family medicine expert, a paediatrician, a female medical officer with experience in obstetrics and maternal health, a nurse/midwife and a logistics support staff member. They will be backed by several hubs – in Hyderabad, Naushero Feroze/Sukkur. Multan, Gilgit and DI Khan – that will ensure the continuous and timely supply of medicines and supplies in the field.
“At this critical juncture, we are focused on reaching the poorest in need and on being sufficiently flexible to adapt to changing circumstances in the field,” said Dr Zulfiqar Bhutta, Chair, Division of Women and Child Health. “While water and sanitation related illnesses such as diarrhoea, skin infections, typhoid and hepatitis A along with malaria, snake bites and mental health problems may be common right now, this pattern may change in the coming weeks and will require appropriate responses”
AKU’s relief efforts will be coordinated with other agencies of Aga Khan Development Network such as FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance Pakistan, Aga Khan Health Services Pakistan, Aga Khan Education Service Pakistan, Aga Khan Planning and Building Service Pakistan, First Microfinance Bank.