At least six more infants died in Tharparker over the weekend due to various waterborne diseases and malnutrition, raising the death toll in the desert region to 72 since January this year, a district official told Dawn.
According to the official figures shared by District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Chandar Lal in Mithi, out of the 72 deaths, around 90 per cent of the deaths were reported from the only government hospital in the district headquarters.
In addition to this, at least 14,000 children suffering from various ailments were brought to different hospitals in the district.
DHO Dr Lal said his team was trying to provide the best healthcare facilities in the desert region.
“Some of the reasons experts cite behind the increasing child mortality rate includes early marriages, recurring conditions of droughts as well as malnutrition,” said Dr Shaikh Tanweer Ahmed, an official of Health And Nutrition Development Society (HANDS), a nonprofit working in the health sector in the region.
Ahmed said that the issues do not only contribute to child mortality but also adversely affect expectant mothers.
“Lack of access to clean drinking water and adequate health care facilities in the remote areas of the region lie at the heart of all problems causing children to die.”
The HANDS official warned the provincial government that reports of deaths may rise in case of delayed rainfall in the rain-dependent arid zone.
According to government health officials, at least 479 children under the age of five have died in hospitals across the desert region.