Quetta, 26 July 2022 (TDI): The World Health Organization (WHO) supplied medicines and other equipment worth over $800 million to Balochistan’s Health Department to prevent the spread of cholera in the province’s rain-affected areas.

The Head of WHO in Pakistan, Dr. Palitha Gunarathana Mahipala, handed aid to flood-hit communities in Balochistan, himself.

Along with that, cholera medications and supplies for the recently built COVID-19 vaccination center at the Pak-Afghan Chaman border were also distributed.

The equipment, supplies, and furniture were delivered to the Chief Secretary of Balochistan.

At the ceremony representatives from WHO, UNICEF, and EPI, Health Secretary Saleh Muhammad Nasir, Director General Health Services Dr. Noor Ahmad Qazi, Quetta Deputy Commissioner Shahak Baloch, and other government officials were present.

Earlier in July, WHO raised concern about the risk of the potential international spread of cholera. Given that Pakistan has long land borders and substantial cross-border travel.

WHO issued an alert of an epidemic of cholera in 16 districts of the Balochistan province in southwest Pakistan.

Proclamations by the WHO Chief in Pakistan

Dr. Mahipala inaugurated the cholera vaccination program for 37 union councils throughout the 18 districts. However, he further informed the journalists that this was the first-time children in Pakistan had received the cholera vaccination.

According to the WHO Chief in Pakistan, Cholera perhaps can be halted from spreading in flood-afflicted regions in Balochistan as a consequence of drinking clean water, washing hands with soap, and eating properly cooked food.

During his visit, Dr. Mahipala also visited the provincial office of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) to acquire information about the preparations for flood and cholera outbreaks.

Furthermore, he appreciated the Balochistan government’s efforts, particularly the health department, for taking prompt and effective action in the afflicted areas.

Additionally, he guaranteed that the WHO will continue to provide all the necessary assistance.

Remarks by the Local Dignitaries 

Speaking to the media on the occasion, Balochistan’s Chief Secretary, Abdul Aziz Uqaili expressed gratitude to WHO on behalf of the Balochistan administration for its prompt assistance at all levels.

Besides the recent assistance, he also shed light on other cooperation by WHO. For instance, technical assistance for COVID-19 outbreaks and vaccination, and cooperation for cholera outbreaks in Dera Bugti, Quetta, Khuzdar, Zhob, and Mastung.

In addition to that, Saleh Muhammad Nasir, the Provincial Secretary for Health, thanked the WHO owing to renovating and providing technical support to the Public Health Lab (PHL) and BMCH lab for epidemiological and natural illnesses.

Lastly, he requested assistance in establishing efficient monitoring systems and an Emergency Preparedness and Response Center (EPRC) unit in the Provincial Health Directorate.