PESHAWAR: The World Health Organisation has called for taking urgent steps to strengthen health facilities in southern districts, especially Bannu, which have been hosting thousands of internally displaced persons from North Waziristan Agency to put brakes on illnesses like diarrhoea, scabies and leishmaniasis.
Expressing concern over the healthcare situation of displaced population, the WHO in its recent report has asked for immediate supply of drugs for leishmaniasis, tetanus, diphtheria and trauma besides diarrhoea kits and medicines to provide primary healthcare facilities to the uprooted population.
It has suggested a detailed assessment of the healthcare needs of the population. The mother and child health services being provided at the Bannu hospital should be strengthened to ensure that patients get appropriate treatment. The basic infrastructure of healthcare facilities is poor which needs immediate attention in terms of water and sanitation, electricity, medicines, basic tools and equipments.
The report said that the schools and colleges allocated to accommodate the displaced persons also lacked bathrooms and other facilities. It said that the immunisation of children had been the major area of concern due to which the children risked vaccine-preventable childhood diseases. The WHO has called for full vaccination coverage of the areas where displaced people live. Awareness campaign to promote immunisation has been recommended to create demand for vaccination.
Says immediate supply of drugs for diarrhoea, scabies, leishmaniasis needed
The people also required emergency health services in local health facilities to save them from major sicknesses. The world health body has asked the NGOs to launch programmes to tackle the increasing cases of malnourishments of displaced people besides putting in place arrangements to provide assistance to the population to cope with the people afflicted with psychiatric diseases.
According to the report, some of the water sources had been found contaminated where chlorination was done. The WHO teams have started community health and hygiene sessions and training for the staff of Public Health Engineering Department on health and hygiene awareness.
In view of the soaring number of people with water-borne diseases, oral rehydration points have been established in major health facilities to ensure coverage of displaced people.
The women and children hospital, district headquarters teaching hospital and Khalifa Gul Nawaz Teaching Hospital in Bannu have been providing health services to patients from the displaced families while other such patients benefit from health facilities of union councils where they reside.
Officials of the health department said that they had deployed a mobile medical team at the camp site with doctors, paramedical staff and ambulance services while free medical camps had been set up in Dera Ismail Khan’s health facilities for IDPs.
They said that the WHO Emergency Response Teams were doing disease surveillance with timely response to mitigate risk of communicable diseases along with water quality monitoring to control spread of water-borne and vector diseases.
Heads of all health facilities have been trained on ‘disease early warning system’ and healthcare providers are able to diagnose, investigate and manage alerts of communicable diseases.
The officials claimed that the WHO Environmental Health Teams had trained public health staff on water quality testing and conducted joint water quality monitoring visits to 56 sites for test of quality of drinking water in the IDPs hosting areas of DI Khan and Bannu.
Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2014