UNICEF has been supporting the rights of children in Pakistan since 1948. We’ve worked to provide clean water, vaccines, education and life-saving treatment against malnutrition.
For the past 74 years, UNICEF has been working in Pakistan before, during and after humanitarian emergencies. Right now, 70 percent of households still drink bacterially contaminated water, while half of all children in Pakistan are chronically malnourished. This dangerous combination poses an immediate risk to the lives of millions of children.
Access to clean water and nutritious foods has never been more critical now that floods have destroyed much of Pakistan’s infrastructure, crops and livestock.
Continue reading to learn more about UNICEF’s work in Pakistan.
While significant inroads have been made to improve Pakistan’s sanitation infrastructure, more developments are needed.
25 million people in Pakistan still practice open defecation. Without proper washing and sanitation facilities, fecal matter can easily contaminate groundwater and rivers.
Every year, diarrhoea kills 53,000 Pakistani children and contaminated water is the leading cause of infection.
Climate change has brought record-breaking levels of rainfall to Pakistan. This year floods have wiped away entire villages, crops and livestock. In addition rising flood waters have polluted wells leaving families with no clean drinking water.
Lack of access to proper sanitation facilities negatively impacts the health and wellbeing of children. Every day we are working to ensure every child has access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities.
8 out of 10 children in Pakistan do not eat the right type or quantity of food. Chronic malnourishment in children is one of the biggest problems facing families in Pakistan, especially those living in rural areas.
Malnourished children or infants are particularly susceptible to disease as their weakened immune systems cannot fight off infection. Additionally, inadequate nutrition among pregnant mothers can cause babies to be born with dangerously low birth weights. Without timely intervention, both mother and child could face serious illness or death.
UNICEF is delivering life-saving Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) to health clinics and community health workers across the country. The high-calorie peanut paste is filled with minerals, vitamins and nutrients that can save the life of a starving child. It’s a miracle, low-cost, food that is key to preventing and curing child malnutrition.
Pakistan is one of two remaining polio-endemic countries in the world, along with Afghanistan. Polio is a highly infectious viral disease which can attack the central nervous system and cause paralysis (usually in the legs). Among those paralysed, between 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilised.
Children under the age of 5 are particularly susceptible to infection. However, since the launch of Pakistan’s Polio Eradication Programme in 1994, there has been a massive decline in polio cases, from approximately 20,000 every year to 84 cases in 2020.
However as long as the virus continues to circulate in Pakistan, no child is completely safe from this crippling virus. The suspension of immunisation programmes due to COVID-19 has increased the number of unvaccinated children and created gaps in immunity.
UNICEF, along with our partners, is committed to supporting high quality vaccination campaigns that reach the most vulnerable children in every corner of the country, boosting population immunity.
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