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Officials told not to accept drugs from NGOs, donors

Officials told not to accept drugs from NGOs, donors KARACHI: The Karachi city government’s health department has directed the town health officers (THOs) concerned not to accept drugs and medicines from any non-governmental organisation or other donors for the medical camps set up in the city for the flood-affected people, it is learnt.

Sources said that Executive District Officer (Health) Dr Nasir Jawaid Sheikh issued such directives while chairing a meeting of all THOs on Tuesday. The meeting was held to review the existing protocols of medical treatment of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and decided to increase liaison with other stakeholders.

It was also decided that about seven towns officially extending the diagnosis and treatment facilities to the IDPS should mainly rely on their own resources and use them judiciously, the sources added.

Many participants of the meeting were concerned over reports about substandard supply of medicines, medical relief operations by different missions and NGOs and referral of cases by camps not supervised by the city government.

A doctor told Dawn that so far it was unclear that under what authority the missions and NGOs were handling medical cases and whether the health providers, other than the district or provincial health departments, and the standard of prescriptions and medicines, including those given by foreign health providers, were recognized locally or not.

Moreover, the parallel operations by such donors and health providers created rooms for duplication of services and misuse of health resources available from the government, private, international health agencies and donors and foreign health missions.

To ensure the quality of medical aids meant for over 50 medical relief camps set up by the CDGK’s health department, it was decided that the government doctors should avoid accepting aids from other agencies and NGOs and such donations, if needed at any stage, should be availed only after taking consent from top-ranking health officials, said a source, adding that the decision would surely lead to the building up of a liaison between the government and non-governmental bodies and missions.

The THOs were told to improve their protocols and referral of patients to different hospitals in the city.

A correct identification of hospital and placement of patients there could ensure better health care and lesser risks to the lives of patients.

The EDO asked the THOs to forward their indents for supply of medicines and other disposables with a margin of two days to avoid any acute shortage of medicines at the relief camps.

The source said that the THOs were also asked to ensure a round-the-clock availability of doctors in medical camps and to educate the IDPs about cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene.

Meanwhile, District Officer (curative) Dr Zafar Ijaz told Dawn that the CDGK, through town health offices, had treated 116,541 patients between August 14 and September 13 in the city.

As many as 23,444 patients of diarrhoea, 2,099 patients of dysentery, 26,851 patients of acute respiratory tract infection, 23,976 patients of skin disease, and 8,982 patients of eye infections had been treated so far.

Fourteen people died of different diseases and 1,373 were referred to different hospitals, he added.

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