Gastro, respiratory diseases rising among IDPs in Bannu

Updated 22 Jul 2014


- File photo
- File photo

PESHAWAR: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that gastrointestinal diseases, acute respiratory infection and unexplained fever are on the rise among the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of North Waziristan Agency, living in Bannu district.

The world health agency has called for urgent coordinated measures to safeguard more than 992,990 displaced people including 74 per cent women and children from avoidable ailments.

According to sources 452,000 (45 per cent) of the displaced tribal people were children, 284,000 (29 per cent) were women and 256,000 (26 per cent) were men.

Health officials said that WHO, which looked after healthcare activities for displaced people in Bannu, had requested the UN Central Emergency Response Fund for provision of $99 million of which it had received only $680,000 so far. It required the remaining amount immediately to ensure treatment of the displaced population to a desired level, they said.

WHO calls for urgent measures to protect displaced people from avoidable ailments

The world health agency has sent essential medicines and nutrition supplies, including 46 emergency health kits, which may cover 414,000 persons till July 30, 2014. The WHO, which supports government’s healthcare activities in Bannu, said it had responded to four measles cases while one person died of suspected Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF).

A total of 6,974 displaced persons were examined last week at a district headquarters hospital, two tehsil headquarters hospitals, three rural health centres, 34 basic health units, two mother and child health centres and 46 civil dispensaries.

The checkup of displaced persons included 33 per cent (2,296 individuals) consultations for gastrointestinal ailments, 19.2 per cent (1,336 individuals) for acute respiratory infection, 10.6 per cent (742 individuals) for unexplained fever, 1.9 per cent (134 individuals) for skin infection, 0.04 per cent (three persons) for vaccine preventable diseases, 0.3 per cent (23 individuals) for acute jaundice syndrome, 35 per cent (2,440 individuals) for other diseases, which required urgent attention.

The number of patients with infections, typhoid, malaria and scabies also haunted displaced population, the world health agency said.

About the upgradation of health facilities, the provincial health department is establishing Diarrhoeal Treatment Centre (DTC) in Khalifa Gul Nawaz Hospital, Bannu while efforts are afoot to strengthen 17 health facilities in the areas housing displaced people.

“In this connection, we have started to carry out assessment of the existing facilities at the gynecology and paediatric wards and work out a plan to upgrade these in view of the heavy influx of uprooted population,” officials said.

About 800,000 displaced persons are concentrated in Bannu while the rest are scattered in the province. Care International is working through one of its local partner to provide healthcare support to displaced people in Peshawar.

The Care International’s response include consultation, treatment and referral for diarrhoea, acute respiratory infection, malaria, fever, family planning, antenatal and postnatal care for pregnant women to apply brakes on complications.

“The health department in collaboration with Islamic Help Pakistan is planning to set up inflatable hospital in Bannu to cope with the situation,” officials said.

The hospital, which will cost $50,000, will provide OPD and other health services especially to women and children. Besides, the Islamic Help Pakistan is also looking forward to provide mobile health services as an outreach that will refer the patients to this hospital and government hospitals in case of severe diseases.

The WHO says that it has vaccinated 399,019 persons against polio at permanent transit posts (PTPs) in southern district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The UNFPA is taking care of reproductive health of displaced population.

The UNFPA has started distribution kits among the would-be-mothers to prevent birth-related complications.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2014