CHALLENGES OF HOSPITAL PREPAREDNESS IN DISASTERS IN BALOCHISTAN
Background: Unique geo-climatic conditions, natural calamities, political conflicts and skeptic social wellbeing with frequent acts of terrorism has made Balochistan more prone to disasters. The hospitals need to be prepared to save lives of large number of patients in a limited time.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify the challenges faced by Public hospitals of Balochistan while preparing to deal with mass casualty incidents.
Methods: A cross sectional descriptive, exploratory methodology was applied to study. Ten hospitals were selected on the basis of capability and locations so as to cover all regions of the province. An opinion survey and few semi structured informal interviews were also conducted with key hospital personnel. Questionnaire was based on standards specified by WHO on the subject .The study was completed in one and half year period.
Results: Health sector in Balochistan is generally mismanaged and poorly developed where majority of population is deprived of healthcare facilities. People mostly rely on the trauma management facilities of military hospitals in emergency situations. Study revealed that 80 percent of the hospitals were without any formal written plan. Major weaknesses observed were regarding training of staff, mental health services, hospital networking, security of facility, and lack of an organized system of pre-hospital management of casualties.
Conclusion: There is dire need of establishment of central command and crisis control system especially for Quetta city in case of disaster. Starting a prehospital care rescue service such as 1122 is needed. The Security issues of health care facilities should be dealt with in view of the threat perception and possible tactics adopted by terrorists nowadays. Thus a workable plan is required which needs review and refinement after each drill or crisis situation to meet the challenges of timely and efficient medical response.