Pakistan's Children at Greatest Risk of Disease

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Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Tuesday his country needs to prepare for epidemics following devastating floods.

According to Gilani, more than 3.5 million children are at risk from waterborne diseases.

"There is likelihood of water-borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea and dysentery, especially in children who are already weak and vulnerable," he said.
He said respiratory infections, skin diseases, and malnutrition are spreading in the flooded areas.

Pakistani officials announced Tuesday that a national steering committee had been set up to monitor the situation.

"Health problems usually arise in flood-affected areas after four to six weeks, and we need to be alert and prepared to tackle the situation," Dr Jahanzeb Orakza, Pakistan's national health coordinator, told the BBC.
The country's medical system was already overstretched and underfunded before the flooding. The United Nations reported the disaster has killed 1,500 people and affected more than 17 million.
'I can assure the world and my countrymen that together we shall surmount this tremendous challenge with unity, commitment and will to share the sufferings of those who are at risk and are vulnerable,' Gilani said.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari warned recovery could take at least three years.

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