Health of quake survivors at risk without regular services: WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) showed serious concern on health of earthquake survivors.
The health of people, who survived the devastating earthquakes could be at risk, if regular services were not rebuilt and restored on a priority and sought the need of all partners to work together towards an early recovery and reconstruction of the damaged or destroyed health systems,” it said.
“We need to urgently restore regular health services for the millions of affected people – for the pregnant women, newborns, children, the aged, people with diseases such as TB, heart ailments and diabetes among others,” regional director of WHO South-East Asia Region Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh addressing the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction 2015 (ICNR 2015), in Kathmandu yesterday. “Without critical services their health could be at serious risk.”
Having lost their homes to the earthquakes, displaced populations continue to live in temporary shelters with sub-optimal hygiene, sanitation and water conditions. They are vulnerable to diseases and health risks in the ongoing rainy season and the approaching winter. Many of the affected people, mainly the injured need long term care or rehabilitation.
According to the WHO, a large number of people need mental health care to cope with the trauma. It said that it has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and Population on the health sector response, which post-earthquake focused on trauma management and temporary reinstatement of the critical health services, and is now transitioning to early recovery and reconstruction.
One of WHO’s key interventions for the ongoing monsoon season is the medical camp kits (MCKs), a set of water proof tents. The MCKs are being strategically located in the most affected districts to serve as temporary patient consultation and treatment facilities and to ensure continuity of services.
“The MCKs will provide the critical buffer during which the recovery of health system must proceed,” said Dr Khetrapal Singh. With 80 per cent of health facilities in the 14 most affected districts damaged, the task of reconstruction is huge but equally important. “Long-term development and the scaling up of risk reduction and preparedness will be key features of WHO’s contribution in the recovery and reconstruction phase,” She added.
The WHO will support with capacity building of national and district health staff on emergency preparedness; expanding the number and quality of disaster-resilient health facilities in the districts; improved interventions for structural, non-structural and functional capacities; replenishment of buffer stocks of prepositioned medicines; and medical kits and supplies and rapid response team kits, among others.
The WHO stands committed to the cause, and will contribute its best to rebuild resilient and equitable health systems in Nepal, the organisation added.