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PARACHINAR: An estimated 60 per cent people of Parachinar are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of frequent terror attacks in the town, says a senior health expert.

Prof Asma Humayun of Meditrina Health Care Team (MHCT), who supervised a three-day workshop on mental healthcare and psycho-social support training in terror-hit Parachinar, said local people were exposed to severe mental stress due to recent spell of terrorist attacks.

“Approximately 40 per cent of the people suffer from depression which is curable, but due to the lack of facilities in Kurram Agency treatment of depression is not possible,” she told Dawn at the end of the workshop.

Elaj Trust and MHCT jointly organised the training session that was followed by a free medical camp. Around 30 local doctors and 50 schoolteachers participated in the workshop.

The session was organised to provide psychosocial support and to treat the severe mental disorder patients and to raise awareness about mental health issues.

On June 30, twin blasts rocked the Parachinar town, killing 74 people and wounding over 250 others. Women and children became the prime victims of the explosions. According to information, 36 women lost their husbands, while 17 girls, who were engaged to be married, lost their would-be life partners in the twin blasts. Moreover, 12 students were also killed in the tragedy.

Affected people rely on self-medication in the absence of qualified medical doctors in the area.

Dr Humayun said it had been found during a survey conducted in Parachinar that thousands of people, including children and women, needed psycho-social support to deal with trauma.

On the occasion, Dr Talha Rehman of Elaj Trust said the organisation would continue working for betterment of people of Kurram Agency.

Dr Zahid Hussain, who is working as a senior medical officer at the agency headquarters hospital, said families had lost their members in violence and terror incidents since 2007. He said the main hospital did not have psychiatrist and poor people could not afford to go to Peshawar for treatment.

He said the government should ensure appointment of psychiatrists in Kurram Agency and health directorate Fata should organise workshops to build capacity of the local doctors. He said women had badly suffered after losing male members of their families.

Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2017