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10 trauma centres in Peshawar district: KPK Health Dept

26 January, 2015

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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department is establishing 10 trauma centres in Peshawar district in order to provide psychological assistance to those who suffer mental health problems as a result of terrorism incidents as well as natural calamities.

Pakistan Psychiatric Society (PPS) president Prof Syed Mohammad Sultan said that they had made a request to the health department after the Dec 16 Army Public School (APS) attack that trauma centres should be established to provide psychological support and treatment to those affected by acts of terrorism, which was accepted.

The centres will be based in the Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH), Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) and government-owned dispensaries on Kohat Road, Gulbahar Road and Charsadda Road besides health department’s buildings on the outskirts of Peshawar. He said that these centres would start operation within a month.

He said that health units where these centres would be established had been identified.

“The centres will also serve to scale up awareness among people of the psychiatric disorders that occur after tragic events. We want to lessen the trauma of the people through specialised assistance free of cost,” he said.

Prof Sultan said that each centre would have the services of two psychologists, including a female, who would examine visitors, while complicated cases would be referred to the psychiatrists in KTH and LRH for diagnosis and treatment by senior doctors.

Centres to provide psychological help to those affected by terror incidents, natural calamities
He said that the affected people would be given short- and long-term counselling to help them revert to normal life.

He said that the PPS would provide technical support to benefit the people affected by deaths of their loved ones in tragic events.

“We should use this tragedy (Dec 16) as a challenge to establish a system under which the people who receive injuries in violence and natural calamities will get counselling services as soon as they improve physically,” he said.

The government has started refurbishing and equipping the identified centres on priority basis, he said, adding that some international donors had also offered their assistance, but presently the government wanted to run these outlets with its own resources.

“We will have liaison with the Pakistani psychiatrists in Chicago and New York who will also help in psychological support of the people,” he said.

Prof Sultan, who heads the psychiatry ward at KTH, said that the society had also planned to set up similar centres in Karachi, Lahore and Quetta in collaboration with the respective provincial governments.

“We will get their help in case of child patients because we have only three to four child psychiatrists in the country. Presently, we have started training of psychiatrists in batches who will be posted in these centres,” he said. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has about 50 psychiatrists while as many are being trained who will become qualified specialists in the near future, he said.

Prof Sultan said that in the second phase of the programme seven more centres would be established at the divisional level to facilitate people who required help for mental ailments. He said that these centres were being planned to be set up in Dera Ismail Khan, Mardan, Nowshera, Bannu, Kohat and Swat as the people from the remote areas could not travel to Peshawar, which had the bulk of psychiatric facilities. He said that divisional level psychiatrists at the respective district headquarters hospital would supervise these centres.

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