ISLAMABAD: To translate existing health sector reactive crisis management response into proactive emergency mitigation, a meeting here Friday discussed establishing a Health Emergency Preparedness & Response (HEPR) Centre that shall be based in Islamabad and shall have linkages with all the stakeholders including the provincial and district governments, donors, the media and community.
Secretary Health Khushnood Akhtar Lashari chaired the meeting, which was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Health, focal persons of accident andemergency departments of major federal government hospitals, and World Health Organization representatives.
Lashari stressed on the need for an institutional arrangement to effectively respond to any kind of health emergency. It is in this context, he said, that HEPR is being created that will be a dedicated organization with a mandate to work on building the capacities of federal, provincial and district governments to deal with health emergency.
Secretary Health directed that HEPR should set standards, issue guidelines, and manage stockpiles of emergency medicines. The Centre shall also develop an information system that shall do the hazards mapping of the entire country and shall facilitate the flow of information to the media and general public.
Lashari announced that Ministry of Health will establish an emergency fund that shall be utilized for preparing the country to respond to health emergencies. He directed all federal government hospitals to do drills and mock exercises in order to effectively manage future health emergencies. He also appreciated the response of accident & emergency departments of the federal government hospitals in recent incidents of violence and terrorists attacks.
Dr. Jehanzeb Aurakzai, Secretary, HEPR gave a presentation on the overall functioning of the proposed HEPR Centre. He said the Centre will contribute to the national, regional and global efforts to include disaster reduction and management efforts into sustainable development programs from the health sector perspective and shall develop a system and capacities for efficient emergency response. He informed that about 50 district health managers shall be trained in emergency management while the health workforce at all health facilities shall be trained in Primary Trauma Care.-SANA