Rebuilding from the rubble

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 05 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:10
  1. Deborah Cohen
  1. BMJ

    Three months ago, a massive earthquake hit the disputed region of Kashmir in northern Pakistan. Now that the initial images have disappeared from the media, what hope is left in their wake?

    If any benefit is to come from the devastation left after the earthquake in Kashmir, it's an opportunity to replace the area's underdeveloped healthcare system. That's according to Professor Murad Khan, a professor of psychiatry at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, who implemented a post-disaster mental health relief plan to affected areas. Although Pakistan has well developed health policies, their effects barely reached the area hit by the earthquake on 8 October 2005.

    Speaking at an international mental health meeting last month at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, he said: “It's a chance to start from the beginning. The money is available and the people are here. We've seen the goodwill from Pakistanis and the international community, and that needs to be harnessed.”

    Embedded Image

    Women cook on an open fire in front of their tent in a refugee camp in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan


    Professor Khan added: “This is a big wakeup call. We must put the money and resources …

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