PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is planning to make legislation for establishing a burn accident prevention authority to ensure that the government and private buildings install fire extinguishers and make arrangements for safe exit of the people in case of fire.

“We are in the process of planning with the lawmakers to make legislation that will pave the way for establishment of an authority and make it mandatory for owners of the buildings such as shopping malls and government and privately-owned buildings to install proper mechanism for putting out fires and ensuring protection of the people,” Prof Tahmeedullah, Director Burns and Plastic Surgery Centre, Hayatabad Medical Complex, told Dawn.

According to him, three meetings have taken place in this regard and the health department and members of the provincial assembly are keen to pass a law and ensure safety of the people.

The authority will be established on modern lines covering all aspects, he said. The passage of the law will make it mandatory for the owners of the markets, plazas and officials and private buildings to have smoke detectors and mechanism for exist of the people in case of fire, he said.

Official says it will be mandatory for buildings to have safe exit, fire extinguishers

Presently, the buildings don’t have such arrangements due to which the people are exposed to burn injuries which entail complications, including mortalities.

Dr Tahmeed said that women were most vulnerable to burn injuries, especially in domestic cases, adding ratio of male and female victims was 1:3.

“Women stay in the kitchen in homes and sustain burn injuries due to cylinder blasts and other incidents. We are trying to impart training to nurses in management of burn cases,” he said.

He said they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Khyber Medical University to offer a one-year diploma to nurses in burn injuries after completion of their graduation. He said this would improve the burns care required by female patients.

“In Pakistan, we have the largest number of 12 female trainee medical officers (TMOs). It is very encouraging for people of the province and women victims of burn injuries,” he said.

In the last one year, 170,000 patients visited the HMC’s burns centre, two-thirds of whom were women and children, he said. The 120-bed centre, made operational in 2018 with the assistance of US government, has now been fully financed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

“We have got 60 beds for burns patients and as many beds for plastic surgery along with the eight-bed ICU and eight-bed high dependency units, but on the government’s directives we are expanding the services to facilitate people in their home districts,” he said.

Dr Tahmeed said that three-year’s data of patients at the centre showed that most of them were brought here from Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, Waziristan, Chitral, Abbottabad, Swat and Dir. He said that they were trying to develop facilities in those areas.

The centre’s director said a 20-bed ward each had been established in Mufti Mehmood Teaching Hospital, DI Khan, and Swat to cater to patients at local level and refer the serious patients to Peshawar. He said in other districts they were establishing burns units in collaboration with the government.

The centre, he said, was the only facility in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recognised by the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan for specialisation of 21 doctors a year.

“The doctors completing training and qualifying the examinations could be deployed in the district level hospitals as well as in medical teaching institutions to ensure prompt treatment of burn and trauma patients,” he said.

All patients undergo free operations and diagnostic procedures with the grant provided by the provincial government, he said, adding their centre had also got the services of physiotherapists, psychologists, nutritionists and other experts to ensure rehabilitation of the patients.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2022

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