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Nine more children die in Thar, drought toll hits 100

Nine more children die in Thar, drought toll hits 100

MITHI: At least nine more children and a mother, who had just given birth to her baby, lost their lives in the drought-hit Thar desert on Thursday, raising the death toll to 100 this month.

The outbreak of water-borne diseases and malnutrition teamed up with the cold weather caused the children to lose their lives in different areas of the district.

Three infants Mithan Bajeer, Bilawal Khokhar and Ismail Junejo died in Civil Hospital Mithi, while four year-old Rubina and an year-old female child lost their lives in Shadi Rind Chhachhro and Dabro Junejo Mukhtara villages respectively.

Three more infants were reported dead in the Sinhiri Koohi, Nagarparkar and Islamkot villages in the area, along with another infant, who was embraced by death in a private hospital in Mithi.

A mother at a maternity centre in Islamkot died while giving birth to her baby, the infant girl also lost her life soon afterwards.

The maternity centre was reported to have no doctors present at the facility, while only four lady doctors were "on-call".

Also read: Basic health facilities failure major reason behind recurring newborn deaths in Thar

Meanwhile, Tharprkar Deputy Commissioner Khuda Dino Shoro chaired a meeting attended by officials of the provincial health department, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and members of the civil society at his office.

Shoro directed the concerned functionaries to ensure proper health facilities in all towns and remote villages of the district by providing "medicines and other healthcare services" to all the people indiscriminately and without regard to political affiliations.

He said that most of the children being brought to hospitals were suffering from diarrhoea, pneumonia and other water-borne diseases.

Members of the civil society along with the Thar Bar Council have demanded that the government should declare a state of emergency in the region and dispatch specialist medical teams to the remote areas to combat the outbreak.

They also demanded that the federal government should take notice of the alarming situation in Thar.

Also read: Thar drought situation termed alarming

The Thar region of Sindh, which has climatic and ecological conditions similar to the Indian state of Rajasthan’s portion of Thar, faces severe droughts for two to three years in every 10-year cycle.

Earlier this month, Sindh health secretary Saeed Ahmed Mangejo, who visited Civil Hospital Mithi and other health units, told journalists that the Sindh government had taken notice of the deaths of the children in Thar and was focusing on providing the health units with medicines and other facilities to curb the spread of diseases.

He had announced that the annual budget for the hospital would be doubled, from Rs14 million to Rs28m, adding that he had increased funds of other health units, which would be released within the next six months.

Also read: 311 Thar children died in 11 months: report

On another occasion, Provincial food minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah while visiting the affected children at hospitals in Mithi said the Sindh government was "fully committed to provide maximum facilities" in the health units of the drought-hit desert.

He added that the Thar Development Authority, envisaged and drafted by the Sindh government earlier after the deaths of the children in 2014, would be formed soon to develop proper infrastructure and civic facilities in the district and improve living standards of residents.

Read more: Development authority of Thar planned

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