Public health work is vital in earthquake

While more than 19 thousand lives were lost in the earthquake that occurred in Kahramanmaraş and caused great destruction in 10 provinces, search and rescue works and efforts to meet the needs of earthquake victims continue. Noting that any work to be done on public health in the earthquake area should be carried out within a great planning, Prof. Haydar Sur said that all works should be carried out under the coordination of all units within the framework of a certain plan. Sur warned that epidemics will arise as a result of disruptions in vital issues such as meeting hygiene needs, collecting garbage, emptying toilet cabins, providing healthy use and drinking water and food for adequate and balanced nutrition.

The neglect of public health service can pose the risk of epidemics!

Üsküdar University Faculty of Medicine Dean Prof. Haydar Sur evaluated the importance of public health work in earthquakes and what needs to be done.

Survivors should be provided with access to treatment

Emphasizing the importance of studies on public health in earthquakes, Prof. Haydar Sur said, “While the search and rescue works, which must be carried out immediately after the earthquakes, are carried on, it is necessary to plan and ensure that people who are rescued from the debris have immediate access to appropriate treatment. It is important to regularly record the necessary equipment and medicine, manpower and what has been done. It is also very important that the mortal remains taken from the rubble are properly delivered to the families and that they are assisted in the funeral process.”.

The needs of earthquake survivors should also be met

Stating that the work to be done for the people who survived the earthquake without injury, Prof. Haydar Sur said, “After the earthquake, the majority of the population of the society will be in this situation. Immediately after basic needs such as shelter, water and food, toilet, heating and safety must be met. These people need information such as telling their problems about themselves, their relatives and governor’s decisions and developments, helping others even in this state, or being useful.”.

Negligence of public health services may pose risk of epidemic

Noting that after these processes, the return to normal will take place gradually, Prof. Haydar Sur said, “In this process, not only clinical services, but also public health services should be carried out on behalf of health services. If public health services are not provided, vital issues such as collecting garbage, emptying the toilet cabins or keeping the field toilets always usable by opening new pits, providing healthy use and drinking water and food for adequate and balanced nutrition will immediately be disrupted and it will be one of the most feared things, which are epidemics will arise.”.

Hygiene conditions must be fully ensured

Emphasizing that a special importance should be given to vaccination activities and health education activities among basic public health practices, Prof. Haydar Sur said, “If the hygiene conditions are fully met, the return of the survivors to their normal daily life is faster. The two most important items of hygiene studies are, of course, water and soap. In this regard, especially typhoid, paratyphoid, cholera, amoebic or bacillus dysentery, as well as many respiratory tract infectious diseases and diarrheal diseases, especially measles in children, should be followed carefully. Also, attention should be paid to lice and scabies outbreaks.”.

The earthquake also damaged the habitats of animals, beware of pests!

Stating that the fight against rodents such as pests and mice has a very important place in public health studies, Prof. Haydar Sur said that the earthquake also damaged the habitats of these animals and made them in a search of a new habitat.

Psychological support should not be neglected

Stating that psychological support for society is an important issue in public health, Prof. Haydar Sur said, “Within the scope of these works, psychological support has a high risk of being neglected, however, a very important part is providing psychological support to the society. In these days when almost everyone is in pain, those who suffer should be motivated to understand the situation, accept, recover and return to normal. Psychotherapy support should be given to people who are in depression.”.

Work in the earthquake zone should be carried out in a planned manner

Noting that any work to be carried out in the earthquake zone should be carried out within a great planning, Prof. Haydar Sur said, “It should be known that doing all these works in a random way will do more harm than good to the society. If it is known that unplanned and casual supports do not have a helping feature, the importance of health management in disasters will be better understood. It should not be forgotten that the provision of the necessary resources, their management and administration, all activities will be recorded and it will be a great source of data both at the time of the disaster and later in the retrospective evaluation phase. Even if electronic facilities are not available, registration forms created on plain paper and basic information must be recorded regularly and completely.”.

Teams must be in communication

Prof. Sur said “It is seen that teams working in isolation from each other for multiple purposes cause a waste of resources a lot of time,” and continued, “In order to prevent this, the employees working in relation to it must meet the teams in the same region or in the surrounding regions for any kind of service we are providing to which target group, and they should integrate with them and prevent duplications. It will be very useful for professionals to come together and hold meetings from time to time, evaluate the situation and revise their plans.”.

Lack of public health work can have tragic consequences

Emphasizing that those who manage the health service must be in contact with the administrators of areas such as security, municipality, housing, and the media, Prof. Haydar Sur concluded his remarks as follows:

“Where international health professionals come to help, they will also need to be helped to adapt to the environment. Public health works are among the works that no one will notice and perhaps appreciate if they are given at such times and there are no shortages. However, when its lack is experienced, a pathetic result emerges, such as a new disaster on top of the disaster. Before reaching this situation, it is expected that public health professionals will perform the services and support the organization in the delivery of clinical services.”

Üsküdar News Agency (ÜNA)