Water quality testing in Karachi

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water quality
WHO team interacting with the community members from Sakhi Hassan pumping station

Karachi, 10 May 2022 (TDI): World Health Organization (WHO) Representative Dr. Palitha Mahipala visited Sakhi Hassan pumping station and DHO Karachi. The WHO team collected the samples of available water sources and interacted with the local community.

Dr. Mahipala has asked the team to share water quality tests urgently and has advised DHO Karachi to conduct water sampling frequently. WHO currently provides reagents for water quality testing and aqua tabs for water purification.

“WHO Pakistan is working closely with the Provincial Health Department for a robust response to control the surge of the cases. WHO is providing all the support to control the spread of disease,” said Dr. Mahipala while visiting Sakhi Hassan Water Pumping Station.

AWD Diseases in Karachi:

Earlier, exceptional cases of cholera outbreaks have been reported in Karachi. Diarrhoeal infection is caused by contaminated food or water ingests with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Hundreds of children and adults have been admitted to public and private hospitals for treatment. The recent outbreak of the disease has been listed as the ‘worst outbreak of cholera in recent years by the National Institute of Child (NICH), Agha khan University Hospital, Sindh Infectious Diseases Hospital, and Research Centre and Civil Hospital Karachi.

According to an infectious disease expert at AKUH, Dr. Faisal Mehmood, “We are witnessing cholera for the last five years, but there is an unusual increase in diarrhea and cholera cases. The month of March 2022 was the worst in the recent years in terms of cholera cases as we haven’t seen such an unprecedented increase in cholera cases in such a short time”. The lab-confirmed cases from Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, and some parts of the old City area have been tested positive in the health facility of SIDH&RC.
Response by the authorities: 

Karachi has been witnessing a rise in cholera cases at the onset of the summer season for the last five years. This year record number of patients have been diagnosed with the disease due to ailing sanitation conditions in many parts of the city. Lack of awareness delayed response, and prevention measures by the government have worsened the cholera outbreak in the city.

“Over a hundred children with acute watery diarrhea are being brought daily to the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) Karachi; 10-15 are cholera cases. We had seen around 50 lab-confirmed cholera cases when we tested the stool samples of children having diarrhea,”  remarked NICH director, Prof Dr. Nasir Saleem.

The National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, has also confirmed the cholera outbreak in Karachi due to the “Ogawa strain” of the bacterium Vibrio Cholerae. The reported bacterial strains are contagious and spread rapidly.

Diarrhea is endemic and claims the lives of 53,300 children under five years each year in Pakistan. The sudden increase in cholera cases has grabbed the attention of the Sindh government, which has set up special wards for the suspected cholera cases in the district hospitals.

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