News / Asia

    Pakistan Floods Putting Thousands of Pregnant Women at Risk

    Ira Mellman

    The floods that inundated many parts of Pakistan have left many of the most vulnerable parts of the population at great risk. They are the unborn, the newly born and their mothers.

    The numbers are staggering. Of the 18 million people affected by the floodwaters, an estimated 70 percent of them are women and children.

    The World Health Organization estimates that half a million Pakistani women caught by the flooding will give birth over the next six months, and about 32,000 of them will experience complications.

    Health authorities say thousands of expectant mothers are at risk. Many have been marooned by the flood waters and cut off from urgently needed medical care.

    Shama Mai is living with her family in a camp in Mahmood Kot. She is surviving on a daily handful of boiled rice and grains.

    Thousands of flies swarm the sweat-soaked women, most of who haven’t bathed in a month because there is no water, toilet or privacy.

    Some have been forced to deliver in tents on their own, using dirty water without even a towel or blanket to clean and wrap their newborns.

    Mai says she’s pregnant and doesn't know where she’ll deliver her baby. “I’m sleeping on a bed on the roadside, no one is helping us. She says “if someone can help us, please, for God’s sake, help us,” she pleads.

    Sughra Ramzan was eight months pregnant with her seventh child when the Indus River began to swallow up the land. She slogged through snake-infested waters on foot and by boat to reach a doctor.

    She says “It was very difficult to come here but finally I reached the hospital and the doctor could check me. First I could find some transport but then I had to walk through flood water and then finally got a boat.”

    She was given an ultrasound, some medicine and told to come back in five days.

    Ramzan said she felt better after returning to her village. So she stayed at home instead trying again to make the 40-kilometre journey on foot, boat and bus for a check-up.

    But last week Ramzan experienced pains.

    Her husband, brother and sister-in-law took turns helping to lead and carry her through four kilometers of muddy water littered with decaying animal carcasses.

    She then boarded a boat and took six buses before finally reaching the hospital.

    By the time the doctors arrived, Ramzan’s baby had died.

    Zahida Khan who runs the 14-person Pakistan Human Development Foundation, an organization that's helping pregnant women and babies left homeless by the floods says "Especially females are in a very miserable situation because they need food, they need security, they need medicines because they are pregnant and you know they need very good food in this situation and milk and iron and calcium."

    Even before the floods, about 80 percent of Pakistani women delivered their babies at home, often on the dirt floors.

    Death rates in childbirth are high, at 276 per 100,000 compared to 11 per 100,000 in the United States.

    One in 20 Pakistani babies don’t live through their first month, and doctors fear that number will now soar.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora