Heatwave combat initiative launched

Minister orders cool spaces in hospitals, ORS availability

Our Correspondent May 13, 2024
Pakistani residents cool off during an hot summer day in Karachi. PHOTO: AFP


In response to the recent surge in temperatures across the province, the Health Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Syed Qasim Ali Shah, has issued directives to the health department to take immediate actions.

The provincial minister has instructed the health department to establish cooling spaces within hospitals to effectively prevent heatstroke. Additionally, he has mandated the setup of heatstroke treatment units in all hospitals across the province, particularly emphasizing their establishment in hospitals above the Category D level.

Furthermore, Minister Shah has taken proactive measures to ensure the availability of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and other essential medicines in all hospitals, facilitating immediate access for those in need. As part of this initiative, all District Health Officers (DHOs) have been directed to appoint focal persons for heatwave preparedness at the district level, working closely with Deputy Commissioners (DCs) for effective coordination.

Recognizing the paramount importance of public awareness, Minister Shah has urged health department officials to conduct comprehensive awareness campaigns on heatstroke at the district level. These campaigns are aimed at educating citizens on preventive measures against heatstroke.

Read PDMA issues rainfall, heatwave alert

Moreover, Minister Shah has emphasized the necessity of providing chilled water for patients in hospital wards and waiting areas, ensuring their comfort and well-being. Additionally, he has mandated the provision of shaded waiting areas for attendants in hospitals, prioritizing their safety and comfort during heatwaves.

To bolster the effectiveness of heatstroke treatment units, Minister Shah has stressed the ample availability of ice packs and the presence of trained medical staff. These measures are integral to ensuring prompt and effective treatment for individuals affected by heatstroke.

The Health Department has issued advisories for the prevention and treatment of potential heatwaves in the province. Citizens have been strongly encouraged to consume homemade drinks and ORS to safeguard against heatstroke, promoting community health and well-being.

Shah has also urged steps to control spread of multiple diseases in the province.

He participated as a chief guest in the concluding ceremony of the training program organized for the staff of district headquarters hospitals on the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System (IDSRS).

Alongside the Health Minister, the event was attended by Director Public Health Dr. Arshad Roghani, WHO KP Office in charge Dr. Babar Alam, and representatives of IDSRS relevant staff and partners.

He distributed Certificates to 280 participants from 28 districts who completed the training program. Director Public Health was awarded a shield for the successful organization of the training, while complements were extended to the IDSRS staff for their achievements. Health Minister was also honored with a Souvenir by the program organizers.

During his address at the ceremony, Shah emphasized the significance of proactive measures at the provincial level to prevent the spread of multiple diseases and to promptly address epidemic situations.

He highlighted the establishment of Provincial Outbreak Committee as a precautionary measure before assuming the responsibility of adopting epidemic situations.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2024.


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