Punjab hospitals ordered to enforce SOPs ahead of predicted temperature surge

Province swelters as mercury soars to 45 degrees

Our Correspondent May 20, 2024
Shah told the principals, medical superintendents and finance directors to work together on development projects for their hospitals. PHOTO: EXPRESS


The Provisional Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) issued an alert on Sunday, cautioning citizens to brace themselves for a scorching heatwave with temperatures expected to hit 45°C in May.
According to the Meteorological Department, a severe heatwave is on the horizon, poised to hit major cities and plains across Punjab from May 21 to May 27.

Saturday saw hot, humid, and partly cloudy weather, prompting most residents to stay indoors and leaving city streets nearly empty during the peak afternoon hours.

Amid scorching heat, citizens are advised to take necessary precautions and stay hydrated as the region braces for the extreme heat.

Under the directives of DG PDMA Irfan Ali Kathia, the burning of crop residues has been strictly prohibited. The administration has also been tasked with access to clean water in public spaces.

Kathia emphasised the need for hospitals and mobile health units to offer first aid for heat stroke. The citizens are urged to take precautionary measures, including wearing light-coloured clothes, covering their heads, and avoiding non-essential travel.

SOPs ahead of rise in temperature

Meanwhile, the Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department instructed health facilities across the province to implement specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) in anticipation of a forecasted temperature rise.

The provincial health department issued directives to the chief executive officers of all district health authorities and the medical superintendents of tertiary care hospitals, district headquarter hospitals (DHQs), and tehsil headquarter hospitals (THQs).

The letter stated: “According to the weather advisory from the Pakistan Meteorological Department, a heatwave is expected to affect all areas of Punjab from May 21 to May 27, particularly the southern districts such as Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, and Multan.”

“This is expected to seriously impact the daily routines and lives of the people across Punjab,” it continued, emphasising the need to implement certain SOPs.

These SOPs include establishing heatwave counters at tertiary care hospitals as well as DHQs and THQs to provide the public with information about heatwaves and preventive measures.

The health department also directed officials to hold coordination meetings with all stakeholders and “establish the responsibility matrix of each department.”

Additionally, officials were instructed to disseminate information to the general public on how to avoid the heat, limit outdoor activity, stay properly hydrated, and handle emergency situations.

Read Intermediate exams postponed in Sindh amid heatwave fears

“All water coolers with plenty of clean water and air conditioners shall be functional across all health facilities, without fail,” the letter said, adding that all necessary medicines should be “available across all health facilities round the clock.”

Furthermore, the department advised officials to maintain close communication with district and tehsil administrations, Rescue 1122, and district disaster management authorities to respond promptly to any emergency situations.

The health department also provided educational messages to inform the public. These include limiting outdoor activity, using protective measures when exposed to sunlight, and avoiding strenuous work in direct sunlight.

“Drink plenty of clean water to stay hydrated and avoid carbonated beverages,” it advised, suggesting the use of mist fans and air conditioners to maintain a tolerable environment.

Meanwhile, Irfan Ali Kathia, the director general of the Punjab Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), stated that citizens were being informed about the dangers of heatwaves through online and social media platforms.

“All departments can combat heatwaves with joint and mutual cooperation,” he said in a statement. He urged citizens to take precautionary measures and avoid movement in strong sunlight.

“Do not step out unnecessarily. Wear light-coloured cotton clothes,” the PDMA official advised.

Hot and dry

According to the Meteorological Department, most parts of the country are expected to experience hot and dry weather on Monday (today). However, upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Potohar region, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Kashmir will see partly cloudy skies, with the possibility of strong winds, gusty conditions, and thundershowers in some areas.

The weather will remain hot and dry across most of the country, with extremely hot conditions forecasted for the central and southern regions. Additionally, gusty or dusty winds are anticipated in the afternoon.

In the evening, areas including Chitral, Dir, Swat, Abbottabad, Balakot, Kohistan, Shangla, Buner, Peshawar, Kohat, Kurram, and Orakzai may experience partly cloudy skies with the possibility of rain, accompanied by gusty winds and thundershowers.

In Punjab, most districts will experience very hot weather. Strong, gusty winds are expected in the afternoon, with the possibility of thundershowers in Murree, Galyat, Rawalpindi, Attock,, Chakwal, and Jhelum during the evening and night hours.


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