IDP camps: Outbreak of communicable diseases feared

A total of four measles cases have been reported from June 22 till July 12.


Sehrish Wasif July 19, 2014

ISLAMABAD:


The government has warned about a possible outbreak of communicable diseases among displaced persons from North Waziristan living in camps. 


Majority of the displaced families were reportedly sharing one room and there was a serious issue of personal hygiene, warned a health situation report issued by the government on the IDPs residing in the camps in Bannu.

According to the report, available with The Express Tribune, so far a total of four measles cases have been received from June 22 till July 12. Of the four alerts, three have been tested positive, said an official of the National Institute of Health (NIH).

“Of the three, two children belonged to the same family which shows that there is a major threat of spread of the disease if necessary measures are not taken well on time,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) and the Polyclinic have sent medical staff with mobile units to Bannu to help the IDPs.

Pims has dispatched 65 staff and 11 vehicles including two ambulances while the WHO has provided 46 emergency health kits to cover 414,000 displaced population.

Meanwhile, the Expanded Programme on Immunisation National Manager Dr Rana Mohammad Safdar said from August 2, a 10-day campaign against all the nine preventable disease will be carried out in areas where the IDPs were residing.

Exaggerated figures

The number of internally-displaced persons (IDPS) from North Waziristan may have been exaggerated as many families have got themselves registered multiple times to get more ration.

“It is expected that the number of IDPs will drop from 0.9 million to 0.6 million after completion of a verification process of their registration,” World Health Organisation (WHO) focal person on displaced persons Fawad Khan told The Express Tribune.

“There are many families who have been registered more than one times at various checkpoints. They have done this to get more ration,” he said citing a family that has registered itself more than 17 times.

“This has made it extremely difficult to ascertain the exact number of the IDPs,” the official said.

There were also families who had moved out of North Waziristan a couple of years back, were now getting themselves registered again to get ration, said the official.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2014.

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