Making nutrition a critical component of the Pakistan flood response
Extreme monsoon rains triggered floods and landslides across Pakistan in August and September 2022. Nutrition International, with support from Comic Relief US, is continuing to ensure children impacted by the disaster receive critical nutrition interventions.
Posted on March 30, 2023
Ottawa, CANADA – Nearly seven million people were severely impacted by the 2022 Pakistan floods, which destroyed homes and damaged water systems, resulting in a substantial rise in childhood diarrhoeal cases. Nutrition International continues to work in the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan to address this ongoing crisis by improving access to, and understanding of, effective diarrhoea treatment with zinc and low-osmolarity oral rehydration salts (LO-ORS).
From April 2022 to February 2023, a reported 137,552 children under five in Balochistan suffered from diarrhoea. In Sindh, more than 372,009 diarrhoeal cases were identified in children under five from August 2022 to January 2023 alone.
“The impacts of the flooding in Pakistan are still being felt and are putting the health and wellbeing of children in particular at risk,” said Joel C. Spicer, President and CEO, Nutrition International. “We’re committed to working with governments at all levels and partners on the ground to provide essential nutrition interventions for thousands of children, helping to ensure their survival and improve their wellbeing.”
In partnership with the Balochistan Rural Support Program – which will coordinate with the Sindh Rural Support Program and local and district governments – Nutrition International will distribute more than 118,000 doses of zinc and 354,000 LO-ORS for diarrhoeal treatment in children under five through health facilities and medical camps. Nutrition International will also conduct training sessions for district-level health facilities staff on diarrhoea management, including the use of zinc and LO-ORS, and distribute leaflets to caregivers on diarrhoea prevention, including the importance of handwashing and boiling drinking water.
“It’s critical that we don’t overlook nutrition in our disaster response and recovery efforts,” said Ayo Roach, Vice President of Grants Programs at Comic Relief US. “We’re so proud to support Nutrition International and their strategic local partners in Pakistan as they work to address the nutritional needs of children who were severely impacted by flooding in September 2022.”
Globally, diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of child mortality and malnutrition, resulting from reduced food intake, malabsorption and nutrient loss. Malnutrition also increases the severity of diarrhoea. Children who are treated with zinc and LO-ORS recover faster and are less likely to die from a diarrhoeal episode.