PESHAWAR: As the health infrastructure was ravaged by the recent flash floods in Kohistan and Swat districts, the health department has planned to establish 11 tent hospitals in the region with the help of the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) to provide health services to the union councils worst hit by the monsoon disaster.
According to officials, these waterproof and weather-resistant hospitals will be functional within a week.
They told Dawn that the plan had been developed to prevent the outbreak of diseases, especially those caused by mosquitoes, in the flood-hit areas in Kohistan and Swat districts.
The officials said that a man died of dengue fever on Saturday taking the number of such deaths in the province during the current year to seven.
They said the downtrend of diseases had been reported in 18 flood-hit districts as the population displaced by the deluge had returned to find around 10 health facilities washed away by floodwaters.
Health dept to execute initiative with Unicef’s support to prevent disease outbreaks
They said the installation of tent hospitals had been planned to restore health services for those people.
The officials said the incidence of acute watery diarrhoea, respiratory problems, skin and water-borne diseases was decreasing in flood-hit areas but efforts were afoot to prevent the outbreak of vector-borne issues, especially malaria and dengue, following the receding of floodwater.
They said each tent hospital would be waterproof and weather-resistant and would cover 4,000 square metres area in Swat and Kohistan districts, where civil dispensaries and basic health units were destroyed by the monsoon calamity leaving the residents without proper health services.
The officials said the Unicef has promised the installation of tent hospitals within a week, where the World Health Organisation and other partner organisations would provide doctors, paramedics and women health workers.
They said the recent incessant rains had damaged 256 hospitals, including 200 partially and 56 completely, while equipment was also damaged in some health facilities.
The officials the government was preparing a comprehensive report for the rehabilitation of those facilities and that the report was likely to be ready by Sept 29.
They said the rehabilitation of health infrastructure would take time as a formal request would be made to donor agencies for funds.
The officials said the World Bank had already agreed to give away $10 million for the reconstruction of health facilities in the province.
They said amid fears of the outbreak of cholera, the WHO had dispatched 450,000 doses of oral cholera vaccines for the people in flood-affected districts.
The officials said another threat posed by heavy rains was malaria, so the health department, as a preventive measure against the disease, had started distributing ‘long-lasting’ mosquito nets and insecticide in most-damaged districts, including Dera Ismail Khan and Tank, for the protection of the people’s health from mosquito bites to prevent malaria.
They said the Unicef and WHO was supporting the health department in Charsadda and Nowshera districts for disease control and prevention after the flooding.
The officials said mass screening for dengue and malaria had been launched in both districts, while mosquito nets were being given to the population to protect the residents against the vector-borne diseases.
They said three health facilities damaged by floodwaters in both districts were being run with the support of the WHO and French relief organisations.
Meanwhile, the number of dengue cases continued to increase in the province, especially in the flood-hit districts due to the standing floodwaters, insist officials.
They told Dawn that Khyber, Nowshera, Haripur, Peshawar, Mardan and Malakand district were reporting more and more such cases.
The officials said a man died of dengue fever in the province during the last 24 hours.
They said dengue had claimed seven deaths in the province in the current year, while 259 new cases were detected.
The officials said the dengue cases reported in the province totalled 6,412 and of them, 814 were admitted to hospitals and 4,790 had recovered.
They said currently, 125 patients were in hospitals, while active patients totalled 1,615.
The officials said Mardan had reported the highest dengue cases i.e. 1,918 followed by Peshawar with 1,695 cases, Khyber 687, Nowshera 495, Haripur 398, Lower Dir 317, Charsadda 163, Kohat 133 and Swabi 108.
Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2022