UNITED NATIONS — At least 150,000 children have been influenced by April 16 earth quake in Ecuador, the strongest tremor to strike the Andean country in decades, according to initial estimates by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“We are in a race against time to protect children from disease and other risks common in such emergencies,” said Grant Leaity, the UNICEF representative in Ecuador, on Tuesday, Xinhua reported.
An earthquake of 7.8 magnitude on the Richter scale struck Ecuador April 16 night, killing at least 413 individuals and injuring more than 2,500 others, reports said.
According to the preliminary government reports, the earthquake damaged 119 schools, affecting 88,000 children. Some 805 buildings have been destroyed and 608 have been damaged. Two hospitals have entirely collapsed in Portoviejo and Chone.
In some of the worst hit areas, mudslides are causing further damage to infrastructure and hindering access of relief teams and supplies. Some cities are still without full power and only 40 percent of communication lines are working.
UNICEF is concerned about health, water and sanitation conditions in the coastal areas, which are already considered hotspots for Zika, Dengue, Malaria and Chikungunya.
UNICEF teams are in Pedernales and Esmeraldas — two of the hardest hit areas — assessing children’s needs and coordinating the response.
Ecuador, which has declared a state of emergency in six provinces, has mobilised around 14,000 army and public security personnel in affected areas.Follow @gorkhapost
Bir Hospital to get new surgery building
KATHMANDU— The oldest hospital of the country, Bir Hospital, is in the process of getting a separate well-equipped building for surgery within the next two years.
The proposed nine-storey building will have 15 operation theaters.
The new building will have a post-operative ward; a 40-bed surgical ward; an Intensive Care Union (ICU); and a library as well. The new infrastructure will also have the facilities friendly to the senior citizens, disabled and the visitors, the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS) says.
It is estimated to cost Rs 3.85 billion to complete the construction in two years. It is being constructed in an area of the old building of the NAMS nursing college which collapsed in the 2015 April earthquake. The building construction was inaugurated by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on March 9.
The hospital that had started its services in 1947 BS with 15 beds has now 450 beds. The NAMS operates Nursing, MBBS, MD classes and training as well.
The post of NAMS Chancellor has been lying vacant since the past five months. As shared by an employee, the delay in appointing the chancellor has caused inconveniences to the operation of hospital regular activities.
Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population, Dr Sushilnath Pyakurel, said the recommendations have been already made before the minister to make appointments in the posts lying vacant in various health academies.
Similarly, infrastructures are being developed to upgrade the hospital by adding extra services including a helipad service for the first time from the government level.
The hospital has started its service from its branch at Duwakot of Bhaktapur from October 10 as part of its service expansion in line with the policy of the Ministry of Health.
The Duwakot branch provides OPD and surgery at present. OPD service starts from 9 am to 5 pm. The NAMS has permitted the construction of well equipped physical infrastructure for the hospital branch to provide international standard service, said the Hospital’s Director Prof Dr Bhupendra Basnet.
The Ministry of Health has allocated Rs 300 million as per the master plan of the NAMS and provided approximately 570 ropanis of land for the construction of physical infrastructures for the hospital branch.
“Necessary human resources including a medical officer, nurses and assistant health workers have been managed for the hospital branch. Medical equipment and other workforce that includes specialist doctors will also be managed as per need,” said Basnet.Follow @gorkhapost
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