DERA ISMAIL KHAN: World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative in Pakistan Dr Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala inaugurated an emergency operations centre (EOC) for flood response here on Friday and promised the provision of necessary equipment, medicines, and human resources to the district health authorities.
He said the WHO would help rehabilitate health sector in the district.
“We [WHO] have come out with a strong plan to support people, government, and health authorities to respond extremely well in flood-affected areas,” Dr Mahipala told reporters after the EOC inaugural ceremony inthe district health office.
The centre was established by the WHO with the collaboration of the health department.
Country head opens emergency operations centre in DI Khan
The WHO country head said his organisation was fully aware of the devastation caused by the recent floods in Pakistan.
“The monsoon disaster has affected 33 million population and over two million households. A total of 6.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance,” he said.
Dr Mahipala said the WHO had already set up 10 EOCs in different parts of the country.
He said the establishment of those centres was meant to coordinate flood response with all partners and donors for better results and help district administration and health authorities deliver the services required by disaster victims in a more effective manner.
“Today, we have donated a large number of medicines for patients living in medical camps,” he said.
The WHO’s country representative said his organisation had taken up the task of renovating 10 health facilities, which were partially damaged, and rented four houses to restore health facilities, which were fully damaged.
He said a nutrition stabilisation centre would be established in the district within a week to respond to the people’s nutritional needs.
“A lot of relief efforts are under way. We’re continuously there to support the people of DI Khan,” he said.
Dr Mahipala said he would visit Tank district as well to meet health authorities, while the DI Khan EOC would extend its services to that district as well as adjoining South Waziristan.
He appreciated the district health department for a well-mannered response to the flood situation and Malaria disease which is on the rise.
District health officer Mahmood Jan thanked the WHO’s country representative over the establishment of the EOC and provision of support to the local health department.
“The WHO representative has fulfilled all our demands, including the restoration of four health facilities in rented buildings for six months, which had been functioning after the flood.
The DHO said dengue situation was under control amid threats of its spread due to the recent floods.
He said 90 dengue cases were reported in the district last year but the current year’s count was 28 only.
“This time around, only five dengue patients were admitted to the Mufti Mehmood Hospital and none of them had serious condition,” he said.
The DHO said no death from dengue virus had been reported since last year.
Earlier, Dr Asad of the district health department informed the WHO’s country representative that 22 health facilities were partially damaged by the recent floods in the district, while four health facilities, including the inpatient behavioural health unit, a basic health unit, clinical decision support and CDS were completely damaged.
He said medical camps for flood victims reported 9,145 diarrhea cases, 8,937 of acute respiratory infections, 9,887 of skin problems and 1,519 of eye infections, while there were 246 suspected typhoid cases and 905 of malaria.
The official said those camps had 710 people with injuries.
He said 43 dengue cases were reported in May, only one in June, two in July, 13 in August, and 27 in the current month.
About Malaria, Dr Asad said malaria incidence was on the rise after floods as 2,252 positive cases were reported when conducted 15,285 tests during the current month, subsequently 1887 in August against 18800 tests and 885 against 14667 tests in July this year.
“We need emergency medicines, rental space and solarised prefabricated structure for six areas, where the buildings are not safe for service delivery, vehicles for medicines supply and field operations to areas with damaged roads access, provision of mental health services in flood-affected areas, and rehabilitation of 22 flood-affected health facilities along with solarisation,” he said.
The WHO team agreed to provide the district health department with all the required goods.
Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2022