MITHI: Eleven more children died in Thar’s hospitals, including the Civil Hospital of Mithi and Islamkot Rural Health Centre, during the past four days due to an outbreak of waterborne diseases and malnutrition.

According to credible sources in the health department, over 172 infants have lost their lives since Jan 1 this year in Tharparkar district.

Dozens of ailing kids were brought to six health facilities of the district on Wednesday. The parents of ailing children and patients complained of a lack of facilities in the hospitals and unavailability of healthcare units in their remote villages.

They alleged that most of the dispensaries and basic health units were lying closed in their respective villages. Despite repeated attempts, no health official could be contacted for their version.

Health officials have stopped sharing details of the deaths of infants with media after Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar took suo motu notice of the deaths of infants in the Civil Hospital of Mithi.

Health and nutrition experts and activists working in the desert area have observed that there was a need to provide nutrition and safe drinking water in the region to prevent further deaths.

They stated that the situation in the rain-dependent region assumed alarming proportions due to increasing temperatures and delayed monsoon rainfall.

They urged the government to take precautionary measures in case of delayed or erratic rains this season, in light of a recent report by the UN on Thar and other districts.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2017

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