Flood Relief and Maternal Health in Pakistan

The summer of 2022 was characterized by record-breaking extreme climatic variations in Pakistan, where heatwaves were immediately followed by monsoon floods that submerged a third of the country, causing the loss of life for 1,500 people. Overall, it impacted the livelihood of over 33 million people, one third of the country’s population according to UNICEF. Among all persons affected, there were approximately 650,000 pregnant women in urgent need of maternal services according to UNFPA.

The GRID lab team is partnering with the principal investigator, Dr. Yiqi Zhu, Adelphi University, and Islamic Relief Pakistan to investigate the consequences of the summer 2022 flood in Pakistan on pregnant and lactating women and their families. Other investigators are Professors Lora Iannotti, Washington University, Praveen Kumar, Boston College, Ganesh Babulal, Department of Neurology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, and Holly Davis, Founder of Community Emergency Response Team, University of Houston. 

The Pakistan team (Mahnoor, Majid, Nada and Dilawar)

The research team is conducting a mixed-method study between January and March 2023 to identify the best ways to provide emergency support to – as well as long-term recovery of – mothers and infants affected by the recent floods. Findings will inform Islamic Relief Pakistan intervention programs. 

Transect walk as part of our mixed-method study

Specifically we will:

  1. Develop a framework to examine the impact of climate change, climate disasters, and floods on maternal health. 
  2. Examine health and maternal health issues of the expecting and lactating mothers and their newborns in the current context, including knowledge and difficulties of breastfeeding. We will also examine coping mechanisms, resource utilization, family resilience, and the role of the relief process.
  3. Provide policy and programmatic recommendations to strengthen safe delivery practices and long-term comprehensive care for pregnant and lactating mothers and their newborns in flood relief camps.

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