ABU DHABI // Three-quarters of a million children in Pakistan will be vaccinated against measles within two weeks as the UAE intensifies its humanitarian efforts in the wake of devastating floods.
It will bring the number of children vaccinated by the UAE Red Crescent Authority (RCA) against a variety of diseases to 1.5 million in two months. The UAE is also building hospitals and clinics in flood-hit areas.
Of diseases that can be vaccinated against, measles is by far the biggest killer globally, responsible for 45 per cent of the 1.2 million child deaths each year from these diseases.
Since the summer, the United Nations children's fund (Unicef) has also run projects including personal hygiene education, medical awareness and disease prevention.
"The people in the affected areas are highly ignorant about health and personal hygiene," said Dr Aysha al Tenaiji from RAK Charity Association, who volunteered with the RCA's medical team in Pakistan.
"You find children up to the age of five, who are barefoot and naked. This results in a lot of skin and foot diseases. We also treated many cases of breathing problems caused by people living in cramped places."
Dr Saeed Hassan, a specialist surgeon at Al Zahra Private Hospital, who also volunteered in Pakistan, said he had performed around nine surgeries for ingrown toenails and abscesses.
"Their feet are full of injuries and skin cracks, because most people don't wear shoes," he said. "There were also cases of chickenpox, body lice and sunstroke."