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86 health facilities damaged in heavy rains across Sindh

October 26, 2012

KARACHI, Oct 26: Recent heavy rains and the ensuing flood in five districts of the upper region of the province have damaged 86 health facilities, it emerged on Friday.

Though some of the flood-affected health units managed to resume partial operations, a gigantic task of replacing damaged medical equipment and diagnostic gadgets and repair and restoration of health services was yet to begin, said sources in the health department.

Apart from damage to infrastructure, the health department had incurred losses on account of ambulances, X-ray units, dental units, refrigerators, water coolers, autoclave machines, operation theatres, microscopes, air conditioners, electric motors, Ambu bags, beds and a variety of kits and medical ancillaries, said the sources.

The initial assessment suggested the restoration of health facilities and provision of furniture, equipment and machines would cost around Rs90 million, said an official of the department.

The secretary of the provincial health department, Aftab A. Khatri, said that high-ups in the provincial as well as federal government were being informed about the damage to government’s health facilities caused by the recent rain and flood.

Not all affected units had become inoperative as paramedics and doctors were serving in partially restored health centres and makeshift or temporary units, said the secretary.

There was, however, need to take up the work to restore dispensaries, basic health units, taluka headquarters hospitals and other health facilities on a priority basis, he said.

Answering a question, he said the health department had requested for provision of at least Rs5 million for the purchase of medicines and other necessary medical aids for the flood affected people.

As the health department waited for release of funds to meet its emergency needs, it was learnt that a certain amount had been handed over to deputy commissioners of rain-affected districts under the government’s relief and rehabilitation initiative, he said.

He said that health facilities in Jacobabad, Kashmore and Shikarpur districts had suffered major damage.

According to an assessment report forwarded by the office of the director general of health, 35 of the 43 health facilities, including taluka headquarters hospitals, rural health centres, basic health units and dispensaries suffered damage. About 90 per cent of the facilities in Jacobabad have also incurred infrastructural losses.

In Shikarpur, 35 basic health units out of 60 were either completely or partially damaged, while two facilities, including a taluka headquarters hospital, were fully damaged by flood.

A source in the health department said the health facilities across the province also suffered damage in 2010 and 2011 floods and more than Rs160 million were required for their restoration but no result-oriented measures had been taken in this regard yet.

According to a summary of the health department, 136 fixed and 46 mobile camps have been set up for the flood-affected people in the worst hit districts of Ghotki, Jacobabad, Kashmore-Kandhkot, Shikarpur, Sukkur and Qambar-Shahdadkot and about 300,000 people have been provided treatment by the personnel of health department and People’s Primary Health Initiatives (PPHI).

The recent flood have devastated over 12,000 villages in 10 districts, affected 116,000 houses fully and 161,000 partially, affected a total of 3.185 million people and left over 258 people dead and 2,400 people injured, according to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority.