Public health emergency operation centre inaugurated

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Zubair Qureshi

Country Head, World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Palitha Mahipala on Monday launched Public Health Emergency Operation Centre, an integrated operation on all types of public health emergencies under one roof at the Health Directorate, MCI in Sector F-11.
Dr Palitha Mahipala appreciated the concept and establishment of the centre and highlighted importance of public health surveillance and its core role in control of diseases.
WHO representative hoped the centre would go a long way in achieving an integrated response towards public health epidemics.
The operation centre caters for organizing preparedness and response activities in the Islamabad. According to WHO country head, Pakistan has performed well during Covid-19 epidemic and so Islamabad’s health department.
Earlier, Head of world body in Pakistan was given a detailed briefing by Director General Health, Dr Hasan Orooj regarding different desks/public health action officers in the operation centre.
According to Dr Orooj, three major emergency issues were being dealt at present namely, Covid-19, Dengue Prevention and Control and Polio Eradication in the operation centre.
The data from the Dash Board is centrally collected, analyzed and response is made through different teams, said Dr Orooj.
Earlier, on arrival of WHO head, Dr Muhammad Iqbal Afridi welcomed the guest. In his brief welcome remarks, Dr Hasan Orooj said public health emergencies have been witnessing an increase in the recent times. There are lessons learned from the Covid -19 pandemic and last year’s dengue epidemic, he said.
According to the DG Health, this [operation centre] is the first operation room in the country that will address different emergencies and is developed with extremely meager resources.
It has the potential to expand and work under unified command and control. So this unique model is feasible to prevent COVID-19, Dengue, challenges posed by polio EPI or other public health calamities, said he.
He also gave a history of epidemics in Islamabad and the successful efforts of Directorate of health services in mitigating the effects of these epidemics. Day and night efforts by the health directorate teams have made this city safer and Islamabad has been registered in the WHO’s healthy city programme, he further said.
Mentioning about COVID-19 epidemic he mentioned that through the same integrated approach, coordination, sharing resources an optimal system was established immediately in January 2020 wherein DHSwas assisted by environment,Sanitation, disaster management and cares 1122 Directorates etc.
Eventually DHS developed eight teams for TTQ, Sampling, health education, coordination, quality assurance, verification, and community screening. Likewise we feel pride in sharing that the burden of dengue patients has been less 10 times from the surrounding areas in urban Islamabad in the last nine years. He said Islamabad is polio free for the last 14 years and all this is because of the hard work of workers’ supervisors, inspectors, vaccinators, and frontline health professionals.