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Imagine you share a pit latrine with three neighbours and you can see and smell the last user’s faeces through the drophole. Imagine people can peep through holes in the walls, which are made of old maize sacks and rusting pieces of corrugated iron. You’ve heard stories of people being assaulted on their way to the toilet at night.
Pakistan is one of the most epidemic-prone countries in the world, with ever-present outbreaks of dengue, malaria, and the persistence of poliomyelitis transmission. Now, unprecedented flooding due to deadly monsoon rains is burdening 33 million of the country’s 222 million population.
Mental health is beginning to get the recognition it needs during public health emergencies, and COVID-19 resulted in more attention on its impact from policymakers, the media and the public. Now policymakers and mental health actors must capitalise on this increased attention, to prioritise mental health as much as physical health in outbreak response.
On 15 August 2021, Afghanistan was thrown into a state of shock and the nation plunged into chaos. The withdrawal of support from the United States and its Alliance led to the sudden collapse of the Afghan government after two decades of rebuilding.