650,000 pregnant women in dire need of care in flood-hit Pakistan

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has painted a bleak picture of women affected by the unprecedented floods in Pakistan as it said that at least 650,000 pregnant women, of whom 73,000 are expected to deliver next month, in the flood-affected areas are in dire need of maternal health service.

The UN agency also warned that many women and girls were at an incre­a­­sed risk of gender-based violence (GBV) as almost one million hou­ses were dama­g­­ed in the catastrophic floods that spelled suff­ering for millions across Pakistan, Dawn reported.

"Up to 73,000 women expected to deliver next month will need skilled birth attendants, newborn care, and support," the UNFPA said.

It added that pregnancies and childbirth cannot wait for emergencies or natural disasters to be over as this is when a woman and baby are vulnerable and need the most care, Dawn reported.

"UNFPA is on the ground, working with partners, to ensure that pregnant women and new mothers continue re­­ceiving life-saving services even under the most challenging conditions," ac­­ting UNFPA Pakistan Repre­sen­tative Bakhtior Kadirov said.

According to the UN agency, over 1,000 health facilities were either partially or fully damaged in Sindh, whereas 198 health facilities were damaged in the affected districts in Balochistan.

The damage to roads and bridges also compromised girls' and women's access to health facilities, it added.