The chief executive of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has expressed grave concern for the well-being of nurses and those they care for amid extreme flooding in Pakistan.
In an interview with Nursing schedulesHoward Catton stressed that the disaster was a stark reminder of the dangers of climate change and its threat to public health.
“There are health facilities that no longer exist and there are major public health issues and concerns”
Abnormal monsoon rainfall, believed to be nearly three times the average for the past 30 years, caused flash floods and ‘out of control’ landslides across Pakistan and affected more than 33 million people, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). ) said.
Reports suggest that a third of the country is currently under water, and at the end of August it was estimated that more than 1,000 people had died from flooding since mid-June, including more than 300 children.
The IFRC said more than three million people have been displaced and are in “grave danger”.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Agency estimates that 745 health centers have been destroyed and 7,566 schools have been damaged. In total, more than half a million people are now living in relief camps across the country.
Mr Catton said he had reached out to the country’s national nurses association to offer solidarity and support.
“From a health perspective, there are health facilities that no longer exist and there are major public health issues and concerns about infections and waterborne diseases, the food supply is interrupted and there are clearly very significant problems with drinking water,” he said.
“And of course, if health facilities have disappeared, a lot of it is about trying to reach people [and using] mobile health teams to reach people [and] to identify the most vulnerable.
Figures from the ICN, in conjunction with the World Health Organization, suggest there are around 90,000 nurses in Pakistan. That would equate to about four nurses for a population of 10,000, Mr Catton said.
This compared to what he claimed was “pushing towards” 90 nurses per 10,000 people in the UK.
In 2018, a small study showed that the number of combined nurses and midwives in the UK was around 150 staff per 10,000 people.
And so, even before the floods hit, Pakistan was already dealing with a “significantly” smaller nursing workforce, and key WHO indicators show the county has a “weaker health system.” ”, Mr. Catton added.
The head of the ICN said Nursing schedules he was “extremely” concerned about the welfare of the nurses and had admiration for their efforts amid this crisis.
Mr Catton also warned of the mental health effects of the disaster on both nurses and wider communities in Pakistan.
“People who have lost everything and are just trying to seek higher ground and find some safety and protection,” he said.
This disaster was another example of the dangers and seriousness of climate change, but also the case of a low-carbon country, “in the face of the consequences of… [other] the country’s inability to act fast enough on climate change,” he added.
The WHO estimates that more than 13 million people die each year from preventable environmental causes, including the climate crisis, which it describes as the “greatest health threat facing humanity”.
Mr Catton said there was no stronger evidence of the importance of action on climate change than situations such as those in Pakistan.
Climate change is a “public health crisis”, he said, but it was also a crisis for Pakistan’s housing, education, economy and mental health and wellbeing. , he added.
Earlier this year, Professor Charlotte McArdle, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England, also stressed that climate change was a “health emergency” and that “urgent action” was needed within the health service and at the -of the.
. chief CII extremely concerned by the nurses pakistan middle flood extreme