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Original Article

SAJEM. 2018; 1(1): 09-14

Disaster Management Preparedness: Attitudes and Previous Experience of Emergency Physicians of Peshawar, Pakistan

Hamid Shahzad, Irfanullah, Umair Shafqat, Muhammad Habib Khan, Shah Hussain, Zahid Khan.

Emergency physicians play a vital role in any disaster as they are the first responders. Proper training and skills are required to deal any emergency effectively. The objective of this study is to assess the attitudes and previous experience of emergency physicians towards disaster management preparedness from three tertiary care hospitals of Peshawar, Pakistan.

This cross-sectional study was conducted in three tertiary care hospitals i.e. Lady Reading Hospital, Hayatabad Medical Complex and Khyber Teaching Hospital, of Peshawar, Pakistan. A validated questionnaire was distributed among physicians working in Emergency Departments through convenience sampling from 4th August 2018 to 21st August 2018.

A total of 63 participants responded to the questionnaire with a male preponderance (n=53, 84.1%). Most of the doctors agreed that training in disaster preparedness should be mandatory for all health professionals (mean 4.8 2.51 SD) with many doctors feeling prepared to do triage in mass casualty (4.30 2.38 SD), deal with emergencies at local level (4.17 0.64 SD) and provide psychosocial support to the victims (4.17 0.71 SD). Although 33% of the respondents had dealt with a mass casualty at scene, only 27 % (n=17) of the respondents had been actively involved in a mass casualty drill.

Disaster preparedness is one of the key steps in managing a disaster effectively when it occurs. The attitudes regarding disaster preparedness among emergency physicians is highly positive however experience can be improved with further training. We propose development of disaster plans in every institution, drills according to the plans and frequent teaching sessions so that the physicians feel prepared when a disaster occurs.

Key words: Disaster management preparedness, Health care professional, Peshawar, Pakistan.

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