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Foolproof plan needed to cope with the challenges of flood

Lahore:Special Secretary Health Punjab, Dr. Dawood Khan has said that we will have to make a foolproof plan to cope with the challenges of flood in 2012.

He expressed these views while addressing a planning workshop for Provincial Health Preparedness and response mechanism for 2012 Monsoon/Floods organized by World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with Health Department, Government of Punjab, NDMA and NHEPR, at a local hotel here today.

He said that in worst case scenario around 3 million people will be affected this year by floods in Punjab. He said that Public health risks are exacerbated by inadequate sanitation, compromised safe water supply, potential food shortages, and malnutrition and low levels of immunity. Talking about preparedness and response of flood 2012, he said that there is a need to improve coordination amongst all partners including 4W and Mapping of Partners and to ensure running primary and secondary health facilities, rehabilitate damaged health infrastructure.  He informed that we are planning to prepare for operating mobile health clinics in areas of damaged health facilities to face the challenges of flood this year.

Focal Person for Flood Emergency, Manager Operations Punjab DR Islam Zafar said that pre flood arrangements have been started and a letter has been sent to all EDOs of Punjab for preparation and submission of district contingency plan. During his presentation, he revealed that 16 districts are at high risk in Punjab. He said that 1402248 expected populations in Muzzafargarh, 330000 in DG Khan, 349580 in Layyah, 350000 in Mianwali, 26210 in Bhakkar, 300,000 in Khushab, 326189 in Jhang, 809568 in Gujranwala, 2100000 in Lahore and 300000 in Khushab are at high risk in their respective districts this year.

Director General Health Punjab Dr Nisar Ahmad Cheema, talking on the occasion said that WHO is always there whenever we need and question for their technical help and support. He said that we are looking forward to WHO for its technical support this year too, to face the challenges that will arise in Monsoon. He said that Punjab Government is hoping for best but preparing for the worst to face challenges of flood 2012.

WHO Operations Officer Punjab Dr. Babar Alam, while speaking on the occasion said that the main objective of this workshop is to have a look on monsoon contingency planning in high risks districts of Punjab and to analyze existing strengths and weakness of the each district regarding monsoon preparedness and response. Dr. Alam said that the workshop also helped to identify the activities and resources to bridge the gaps and to develop the comprehensive monsoon contingency plan. He also offered WHO technical support for all districts of Punjab for implementation of computerized inventory management software, Logistic Support System (LSS).

EDO’s Health from different districts of Punjab also gave presentations on “An Overview of Monsoon Contingency Planning Scenarios for 2012 and Expected Health Consequences” and “District level presentations on Monsoon Contingency Planning. Dr. Shehzad, Actin DG Rescue 1122, Dr. Faisal Amir, Director (National Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Network) NHEPRN, District Emergency Officers, Rescue 1122 from 16 districts of Punjab, representatives of UNICEF and UNFPA also attended the workshop.

 WHO Chief of Operations (EHA), Islamabad Dr. Martinez Jorge, while addressing the workshop said that in monsoon period, Health Department Punjab at Provincial and District level will lead the Health Sector as focal point and WHO will lead the health sector coordination with the partners and provide technical and logistical support.

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