ISLAMABAD: Rawalpindi is among 24 districts identified as high-risk in government contingency plans for the upcoming monsoon season.
The plan has been prepared by the National Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Network (NHEPRN), a body working under the federal health ministry. “As a policy-making and coordinating body, NHEPRN has identified roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders in case of an emergency, said NHEPRN Director General Munir Ahmed Mangrio.
Mangrio said they had consulted public and private stakeholders and identified available resources and problem areas in all provinces.
One of the important features of the contingency plan is an agreement between NHEPRN and Pakistan Pharmaceutical Medical Association, according to which the latter would provide free but a limited supply of medicines within 24 hours in case of a medical emergency. The association would provide medicines at factory rates if the situation is declared a “severe calamity”.
According to the plan, the provincial government, as first responders, will be responsible for provision of medicines, logistics, and technical support. District health officers will coordinate efforts at the district level.
The provincial government, if required, will be assisted by the federal health ministry and NHEPRN, which could also engage INGOs.
Apart from Rawalpindi, districts marked as high-risk are: Muzaffargarh, DG Khan, Rajanpur, Layyah, Mianwali, Bhakkar, RY Khan, Multan, Sheikhupura, Chiniot, MB Din, Faisalabad, Jhang, Khushab, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Jhelum, Sargodha, Lahore, Bahawalnagar, Hafizabad, Narowal.
A population of 15.54 million in these districts will be vulnerable to floods and need assistance.
NHEPRN has also prepared two case scenarios identifying vulnerable population and their requirements. According to the first scenario, which is if a million people are affected, a total of 170,000 under-five children and 3,366 pregnant women would be in need of immediate medical assistance.
And if two million are affected, 346,746 under-five children, 6866 pregnant women and 228,852 women of child bearing age will be in need of medical assistance.
NHEPRN has also established a round-the-clock monitoring and operation room. It has conducted trainings in hospital emergency preparedness and community based disaster risk management (CBDRM).
Other contingency measures include updated GIS mapping of provincial data and establishment of disease early warning systems DEWs. A “4W” matrix — showing who is doing what, where and how — has also been activated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), which will prepare the national contingency plan for monsoon, will incorporate NHEPRN plans its arrangements.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2015.