Pakistan: health relief for people in crisis

July 2009

A young Pakistani girl in a camp.
Jan Brouwer/WHO

Violence in northwest Pakistan has ignited a large-scale humanitarian crisis. About 2 million people have been forced from their homes in the Swat Valley and other areas in the largest displacement in the country's history.

The conflict has affected 60% of health facilities and shut down the entire private health sector, which had provided most health services. During a crisis, the safety of health facilities and the readiness of health workers to treat injuries, prevent illnesses and care for people's health needs are critical. This is a cause WHO has been promoting, starting with the World Health Day 2009 campaign: 'Save lives. Make hospitals safe in emergencies'.

WHO is working with over 40 Pakistani and international partners to provide health relief, including the rebuilding of more than 80 destroyed health facilities. Other priorities are ensuring supplies of medicines and ambulances, preventing disease outbreaks, grappling with a shortage of health workers, particularly women staff, and meeting the day-to-day health needs of people as life goes on in displacement camps and host communities.

This photo story illustrates the plight of the displaced people and efforts to protect their health now and into the future.

Read the photo story

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