PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department is facing an uphill task of catering to the needs of the internally displaced persons in North Waziristan Agency and is sending a proposal to the army to allow the international humanitarian groups to the districts where they had taken temporary shelter.
Imran Khan had already asked the army to give access to the relief organisations to Bannu and other districts to provide good facilities to the people, officials said. The provincial government is also sending a proposal to the army in this regard, they said. The massive displacement could cause health problems if we didn’t get assistance immediately, they said.
“We have already requested the federal government and the army to allow the international humanitarian groups to provide better healthcare facilities to the uprooted population,” a senior health official said.
According to him, the provincial government was taking all possible measures to ensure that displaced population got adequate health cover. In this connection, the directorate of health Fata had agreed to hand over the services of 29 health staffers, including doctors and paramedics of the North Waziristan, to the provincial health department.
Services of displaced health employees to be utilised for the purpose
The services of these displaced employees would be utilised to strengthen the health facilities in the areas where displaced families were staying, he said. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday released Rs50million to send medical supplies to the health facilities in IDP-hosting areas, he said.
The existing health facilities were enough to treat the patients but they required medicines and supplies of surgical disposable items, they said. According to them, dozen of organisations had placed applications with the government seeking permission to provide healthcare services to the people but the authority to issue them no-objection certificate was the domain of the federal government and the army.
Also read: North Waziristan IDPs figure reaches 800,000
Senior officials said that it was the sole responsibility of the federal government to put in place healthcare facilities for the population of North Waziristan Agency, because it directly ruled Fata. The provincial health department was fully committed to serve the people but they didn’t have the desired resources and desperately required assistance by non-government relief bodies.
The World Health Organisation has been urging the government to strengthen the health facilities in Bannu, Karak, Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan and Tank to protect the displaced people from developing serious health complications. Living with little access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities, they are prone to skin, food and water-borne diseases.
Health facilities from these areas recorded cases of diarrhoea, scabies and leishmaniasis etc, which could be prevented through essential drugs. Many health facilities also required some repair and structural work to enable them to cope with the load of patients.
The provincial government has also been sending a team of 18 doctors to provide healthcare to the displaced people in the local facilities. Presently, a team from Hayatabad Medical Complex is providing healthcare to the people in Karak and Bannu. Another group of doctors from the Khyber Teaching Hospital will soon replace the team in the two districts.
Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2014