PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government would establish a physiotherapy and rehabilitation department at each district headquarters hospital to put brakes on avoidable disabilities by providing free services to the victims of violence, stroke and polio, officials said.

The programme, approved for the province for the first time, will also provide physical therapy to the people after they undergo operations to avoid minor disabilities.

“Initially, the project, to be launched in all 25 districts of the province, will provide free rehabilitation services to the handicapped patients. The project was approved in a meeting held here recently with health secretary in the chair,” Dr Mahboobur Rahman, the provincial coordinator for rehabilitation of disabled, told this scribe.

He said that violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and nearby tribal areas had left scores of people disabled owing to which the government approved the project to provide timely physical therapy services to them and lessen the burden of disabilities. “The government has allocated Rs59 million for the project, which will be extended later,” he said.

Dr Rahman said that under the project, physiotherapy services, which were presently available only at the teaching hospitals of the province, would be provided in the districts. He said that people often developed disabilities owing to non-availability of those facilities at district level hospitals.

Dr Rahman said that the hospitals would get desired equipment and physiotherapists to strengthen rehabilitation services and minimise the quantum of physical disabilities in the province.

According to him, the PC-1 of the programme has been approved to facilitate the physically challenged persons by offering them free physical exercises in the hospitals of their own districts.

The physiotherapy department in the respective hospitals will extend free services to patients with joints pain, paralysis and poliomyelitis. Special children and women with disabilities will remain the main beneficiaries.The physiotherapy department at Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar would act as umbrella from where the project would be implemented, Dr Rahman said.

The basic objective of the project is to facilitate physically challenged people through rehabilitation, walking aids, vocational rehabilitation and equipment in collaboration with health and social welfare departments besides other stakeholders.

The social welfare department will also identify physically challenged people to the health department and they would be sent to the physiotherapy departments in the districts for treatment as well as rehabilitation.

Officials in the healthy department told Dawn that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa suffered many natural calamities besides endless series of bomb and suicide attacks that injured thousands of people, who risked contractures and deformities even after healing of their wounds.

The programme was aimed at locating such people and giving them free services to save them from being crippled, they said.

“We will also provide services to the beggars, who would be taken up from streets and markets. They will get vocational training after getting medical treatment,” officials said.

They said that other trainings and technical skills would also be imparted to the beneficiaries of the programme to enable them to earn their livelihood.