Rebuilding health care facilities a priority after Nepal earthquake

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A mother tends to her daughter, injured in Nepal’s earthquake, at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu. UNICEF File Photo/NYHQ2015-1013/Nybo

Survivors of the Nepal earthquake could face serious health risks if medical facilities are not rebuilt and services restored as a priority, a senior UN health official told international donors meeting in the country's capital on Thursday.

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for the World Health Organization (WHO) in South-East Asia, said pregnant women, the elderly and people suffering from diseases are among those who could be affected.

WHO reports that with 80% of health facilities in the 14 most affected districts damaged, reconstruction is a huge but important task in Nepal.

Dianne Penn reports.

Dr Singh said many displaced people, who lost their homes in the earthquake, continue to live in temporary shelters without proper access to water and sanitation, thus making them vulnerable to disease.

He added that those injured in the disaster require long-term care or rehabilitation, while a large number of people need mental health care to cope with the trauma they experienced.

WHO has been working with Nepal's Ministry of Health on temporary reinstatement of critical health services and is now transitioning to the early recovery and reconstruction phase.

The agency is providing waterproof tents in the most affected districts which will serve as temporary consultation and treatment facilities during the monsoon season.

The donor conference in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, on Thursday reportedly ended with US$3 billion in pledges.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 43″

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