World Vision clinic opens in flooded Lower Dir, Pakistan

TIMERGARAH, Pakistan, Aug. 4 /CNW/ - With evidence of waterborne disease on the rise, World Vision today opened an emergency primary health clinic in Lower Dir, an area of Pakistan severely hit by monsoons and floods. The clinic has already received an influx of patients from the area, including many who lost their homes.

World Vision is worried that waterborne diseases such as diarrhea and cholera will spread among the homeless. Increasing numbers of children are already reported to be suffering from skin diseases and eye infections.

QUOTE

"People are showing up at the clinic parched and hungry. They've walked through rain and mud with clothing caked to their bodies, carrying their children for hours. They're suffering from ailments such as diarrhea and acute respiratory infections, which can become life-threatening unless treated. The situation is desperate." - Dr. Sheraz Iqbal, World Vision Pakistan

CONTEXT

Lower Dir is a conflict-affected area where even prior to the floods, existing health clinics were damaged, medical supplies looted and health staff forced to leave. Crowded conditions, overstretched caregivers, poor sanitation, lack of clean water and inadequate nutrition contribute to high levels of mortality in young children.

World Vision's new, permanent emergency health clinic in Lower Dir has been established at the request of local authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO). Though intended for use in the aid agency's long-term programs for internally displaced people, the opening of the clinic has proven timely given the current disaster. It is staffed with two doctors, a pharmacist and a female health worker responsible specifically for women.

Through CIDA funding, World Vision will also support six additional health clinics in Lower Dir, where it also plans to establish "women-friendly spaces" that will provide psychosocial and educational support to women in the conflict-affected areas. Women will be encouraged to visit and discuss their maternal, child health and psychological problems with their peers through the facilitation of a trained health worker.

Canadians wishing to help can make a donation by visiting WorldVision.ca or by calling: 1-800-268-5528 (English), 1-800-363-5021 (French).

World Vision has been working in Pakistan since 1992, focusing on emergency relief and response, child protection, HIV and AIDS awareness, sustainable economic development, health and hygiene, and empowering women. Importantly, World Vision provided extensive assistance to people in North West Frontier Province (now known as Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, or KPK) immediately after the 2005 earthquake, giving us experience in emergency response at the grassroots levels. To learn more about World Vision's work in Pakistan, see http://www.worldvision.ca. World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

SOURCE CRISIS IN PAKISTAN

For further information: For further information:

For pictures and interviews with World Vision experts, contact:
Britt Hamilton, 905-565-6200 x.3973, cell: 416-419-1321, britt_hamilton@WorldVision.ca
Amy Fuller, 905-565-6200 x.2151, cell: 416-671-0086, amy_fuller@WorldVision.ca

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CRISIS IN PAKISTAN

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