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Assessment of affected people in APS attack urged

-Ibadat Hospital Peshawar's Chief Executive, Professor Khalid A. Mufti has called for assessment of people affected in the Army Public School's (APS) tragic incident, including children parents and relatives, identification of the PTSD symptoms and initiating a support system.

Professor Mufti, who is a former dean, principal Khyber Medical College and a leading psychiatrist, told Business Recorder that the sheer scope and severity of destruction in the school incident prompted national and international attention and support for survivors of the families of martyrs and those injured on priority basis. "The devastation created by the incident was catastrophic, not only for the affected families but also for those who watched television, relieving the past traumatic events for survival of suicidal bomb blasts of the past," he added.

He said, "The short-term emergency needs were enormous, and the longer-term needs for assessment and rehabilitation have not ever been quantified. Firstly, the relief activities confronted the challenges of the disaster as a complex emergency. Secondly, the clinical and psychological profile of APS disaster is not similar to that of any incident in the past. The death of families and children was a blunt trauma, and the injuries among the survivors arise from complications of experiencing the traumatic incident."

Professor Mufti further said that the short-term public health needs of the surviving population were not familiar and that the major public health priorities of ensuring the availability of security, psycho education, social support and reassurance are technically not complex, but accomplishing these goals presents tremendous challenges in terms of co-ordination.

Professor Mufti said the incident evoked a debate in mental health practitioners that how this huge number of affected families, and other people who are severely affected by this incident, could be assessed for their needs and urged the need to develop an objective assessment procedure to evaluate the PTSD symptoms and plan for required intervention.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015


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