PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department has directed the district health officers in the province to establish medical camps in the inaccessible rain-hit areas to immediately provide medical care to the people in need and prevent the outbreak of diseases.

The DHO will also take steps to “strengthen surveillance to prevent and control water- and food-borne diseases,” according to a notification issued by the director-general (health services).

It added that it had become very important due to the continuous rains to increase vigilance and strengthen surveillance to deal with the challenges of public health.

“The health minister has already expressed apprehensions about the flood-related health issues, and therefore, all district health officers and medical superintendents of hospitals are required to stay on duty and monitor the situation in their respective districts,” read the notification.

The DG said all hospitals should ensure an adequate stock of essential medicines to ensure effective treatment of patients with water- and food-related issues.

Says move will ensure provision of medical care to residents, prevent outbreak of diseases

He added that urgent attention was required for the rain-induced situation.

The director-general also ordered the deployment of healthcare providers in the areas where accessibility isn’t easy and the establishment of temporary medical camps so the people can be given medical aid.

“These camps should ensure immediate relief to the patients besides the surveillance of diseases and preventive measures,” he said in the notification.

The DG said the district health authorities should update him on the prevalence of diseases in their rain-hit areas on a daily basis so that measures could be taken to prevent the outbreak of communicable and other diseases.

He said surveillance was essential for the early detection of diseases, prompt response, and effective control and prevention of diseases amid heavy rainfall.

Meanwhile, officials told Dawn that the health department was facing problems mobilising staff members and transporting medicines to patients in flood-hit areas due to the disruption of the communication network in areas badly hit by rain and floods.

They said there was a high likelihood of cases of diarrhea, acute respiratory and skin diseases, and snakebites rising in the affected regions, and therefore, the health department was going to set up medical camps in inaccessible areas.

The officials said the department had been reporting cases from flood-hit areas in the past as well.

They said the people in those areas required clean drinking water and safe food to prevent diseases.

The officials said most of the calamity-hit districts needed medicines for diarrhea, skin, and chest infections, which were mostly reported in children.

They also said the district required medical supplies and antibiotics.

The officials said in the last floods, the department recorded cholera cases in some areas due to the consumption of contaminated water, and therefore, people should use boiled water to stay safe from that acute intestinal infection.

They said people in many districts were surrounded by standing water, rendering them more vulnerable to mosquito bites that could cause malaria and dengue fever.

The officials added that health facilities in those areas weren’t reachable, and therefore, medical camps were required.

They said the people, who suffered from hypertension and diabetes required continuous treatment, so they’re highly vulnerable in flood situations as doctors weren’t readily available in the local hospitals.

The officials said the department was also focusing on people with serious diseases as well as pregnant women.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2024

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