Thanks to the generous contributions of Melbourne Health staff more than $6,500 was raised to send the RMH Rehabilitation team to Pakistan, following the 7.3 Richter Scale earthquake on 26 October 2015.
The Rehab team included director of Rehabilitation Medicine, Professor Fary Khan, Drs Geoff Abbott, Alaedin –el Malik and Bhasker Amatya and nurses Bronwyn Miller and Kathryn Lowenthal.
Professor Fary Khan, thanked everyone for their support.
“On behalf of the Rehab team - I would like to thank the Melbourne Health Executive and staff for their kind support and financial assistance for the team,” Professor Khan said.
“While the death toll of approximately 400 people in the Hindukush range of the Himalayas in Pakistan was significant, there were about 5,000 people who required urgent medical attention.”
The Rehab team was hosted by the Medical Directorate of the Pakistan Armed Forces and the Armed Forces Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFIRM) in Rawalpindi (15 km from Islamabad).
Professor Khan said the team were initially based at the AFIRM and assisted with acute medical care for three rehab wards (approximately 80 beds per ward).
“These included patients with spinal cord and acquired brain injuries, and those with multiple trauma. We also assisted with outpatient clinics for injured soldiers and worked mainly with the military medical staff (rehabilitation physicians, neurologists and urology teams) and nurses,” Professor Khan said.
“We were asked to contribute to special education sessions for the rehabilitation staff, allied health and nurses; we were invited to review their existing clinical practices for rehabilitation services – which was very well received.”
Professor Khan was also invited to lecture at the Army Medical College for the military medical students (about 1,000 students in final year alone!) and also at the Armed Forces Post graduate Institute with 500 medical specialists.
The RMH rehabilitation team travelled further to Peshawar, the border town in the North West Frontier Province, adjacent to the famous Khyber pass leading into Afghanistan.
“We saw firsthand what the combined military and civil NGOs were doing looking after severely injured persons with very limited resources,” Professor Khan said.
“In particular we worked with Pakistan Prosthetics and Orthotics services which work alongside the International Red Cross and the WHO. They provide prosthetic/orthotic services to more than 1 million amputees.
“We did the best we could with the resources available. However it was very inspiring and humbling to see the amazing work and care they were able to provide.”