Need to promote Health Education, Disease awareness and preventive health services

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 Need to promote Health Education, Disease
awareness and preventive health services

Curative services are expensive and no country in the
world can afford to provide it to the entire population free of cost

BAHAWALPUR: The oil tanker tragedy near Ahmedpur East near Bahawalpur in Punjab which has so far accounted for over two hundred lives and some are still fighting for their lives in the hospitals have provided an opportunity to the disgruntled politicians and opportunist elements in the medical profession to point their guns at the government. The debate for providing facilities for Burns victims in public hospitals and establishment of Burns Units has been highlighted without realizing that establishing such units is not a joke. It is very expensive, require millions of rupees of investment in the shape of equipment and instruments but above all the need for dedicated staff i.e. doctors, nurses and technicians which is a very rare commodity. Not many are interested to work in Burns Units and even finding human resource at a few such centers already established always remains a problem. Doctors and nurses posted there often get themselves transferred to other units where they do not have to work so much.

Even otherwise curative services are always very expensive and no country in the world could afford to provide comprehensive healthcare facilities absolutely free to its entire population. Provision of curative services is not the solution to the problems we face in Pakistan but what we need to do is to promote health education, awareness about the diseases, setting up ”Filter Clinics”  to decrease the work load in the healthcare facilities.

Coming to the Ahmedpur East tragedy, one feels sorry for the families who have lost their near and dear ones but what can you do when someone is bent upon committing suicide. Oil is highly inflammable and one should keep oneself away from it and always keep a safe distance but those who had gathered to collect free oil from this tanker must have realized it can have serious complications and can also be fatal. Every day we see people on roads breaking the signal and then meeting an accident, some land up in the hospital while a few also make it to the graveyard. Should not we promote health education and impress upon everyone to obey the traffic rules.  Again every year many youngsters lose their lives playing “one wheelers” which is a fatal sports but despite warnings from the authorities, these youngsters do not stop playing “One Wheelers” and when they meet an accident and land up in a hospital emergency, what is the fun in criticizing the working of emergency services in these healthcare facilities? Had such accidents not happened, it will definitely reduce the work load on hospitals. Kite Flying is another fatal sport and there is no dearth of enthusiasts in the society who wish to promote this sport and fanfare but ask those parents who lose their loved ones in these accidents. It is also the duty of these parents to monitor their children, do not provide those motorbikes and refrain them form kite flying on roof tops of high rise buildings which results in many accidents.

The other day it was again painful to see people looting Cold Drinks from a Truck which met an accident in Lahore and the Driver ran away. A video shared on the social media showed three female sitting with a man on motorbike and they were finding it extremely difficult to hold on to the Crates of looted bottles of Cold drink while the man was finding it extremely difficult to control the motorcycle.

While the entire print and electronic media as usual was busy in criticizing the government which is their favorite hobby, it was heartening to read an article in Daily Dawn of July 6, 2017 on the Editorial page by Mr. I. A. Rehman titled “A display of loot culture” wherein the author pointed towards this total degeneration in the society which is the root cause of such tragedies. The author writes that “What we saw in Bahawalpur was one of the ugliest demonstrations of the popular culture of loot, the practice of looting victims of disasters. Whenever accidents involving trains, automobile and aero plane occur some good people extend succor to the victims but in many cases the dead are robbed of their valuables. Why do some or many Pakistanis behave in this manner? he asks”

There is no denying the fact that we in Pakistan have promoted this loot culture. Time has come when each and every Pakistani must think for a while where are we heading as a Nation? The authorities cannot escape from criticism as they too have been promoting this loot culture in one way or the other. Let us learn some lessons from such tragedies. OGRA has done well though much late to ask the Oil Marketing Companies to ensure the roadworthiness of the Tankers used in transporting oil. But let us not forget the fact that we have too many Mafias in this country and Oil Tankers Mafia is one of them. It won’t be an easy task to handle and tackles such Mafias.

Authorities also need to find out what was the response time for the Police to reach the site of the tragedy? When the officials of civil administration reached there? Why no measures were taken to cordon off the area? Did the civil administration and law enforcing agencies perform the role which is desired of them in such circumstances? While on one hand, we need to find an answer to the above questions and take effective measures to ensure such large scale tragedies do not occur in future, making arrangements for First Aid and early management of burns cases at Tehsil, District Hospitals should be in place along with developing and expanding the existing facilities of Burn Units with appropriate facilities for plastic surgery. This is of course a long term plan and will require adequate funding besides training of human resource to man these burn centers.

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