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J Pak Med Assoc. 2009 Jul;59(7):441-5.

Pakistan: the new target of terrorism. Are Karachi's emergency medical response systems adequately prepared?

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Center, Karachi, Pakistan.



To assess the efficacy and preparedness of the pre-hospital and hospital emergency medical systems and post graduate trainees in the city to deal with a massive terrorist strike.


A cross-sectional survey of postgraduate trainees was conducted at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center and Civil Hospital Karachi from 21st July 2007 to 24th July 2007, to evaluate the preparedness and self identified deficiencies of doctors involved in massive trauma casualty management. To assess the pre-hospital care in Karachi, structured telephonic interviews were conducted of administrators of two private run charity based ambulance services.


Out of the 90 respondents questioned regarding a self assessment of their training, only 3 (3.3%) of them were confident about their management of bomb blast victims. Eighty-seven (96.6%) of the respondents felt they required some further training (44.4%) or comprehensive training (52.2%). No simulated drills or courses had been conducted for disaster management in the emergency department of the surveyed Hospitals. Most of the ambulance drivers had no paramedic training. Ambulances are equipped with a stretcher and an oxygen cylinder only. No resuscitation measures are available in the ambulances.


With an increasing number of terrorist attacks in the country, massive influx of casualties in a relatively short time span has become a regular feature of the Pakistani hospital system. Lack of adequate training at pre-hospital and in hospital levels may translate into increasing morbidities and mortalities. It is imperative that training of junior doctors and paramedical staff be conducted regularly and an effective regional communication base established for efficient interdepartmental coordination.

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