CMAT to staff DART hospital as DART returns to Canada; UN/WHO requests CMAT mobile teams to remote areas; CMAT races to deploy 1,000 winterized tents and 5,000 thermal blankets to quake victims. CMAT Team 6 to deploy December 9th.


hospital_crewDecember 3, 2005: CMAT announced today that it has been asked to staff the mobile hospital the Canadian Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) is leaving behind in Pakistan as they return to Canada. Captain Richard Perreault with the Canadian Forces Joint Headquarters in Kingston said nearly 10,000 patients were treated during their 40-day mission. The hospital was turned over to the Pakistan Red Crescent, and in a meeting with CMAT officials, CMAT was asked to provide staffing for the field hospital, located in Garhi Dupatta, about 45 minutes east of Muzzafferabad.

Working in collaboration with physicians from the Pakistan Red Crescent, CMAT will continue to see 300-400 patients daily at the hospital. The transition will occur as of Monday, December 5 and will continue for several weeks for as long as the need persists.

In Muzzafferabad, CMAT has partnered with the UN/WHO to deploy medical personnel to remote village locations which have still not received significant aid. This activity is being coordinated through the UN Health Cluster, Ministry of Health and the Pakistan military. CMAT medical team members will reach remote villages identified in need by UN helicopter, provide medical care and triage critical patients for air evacuation to the DART hospital in Garhi Dupatta and/or Muzzafferabad. To date, CMAT has sent a total of five 6-8 member medical teams to Pakistan, and an additional 4 teams already scheduled to rotate through the area every 2 to 3 weeks to mid February from communities across Canada including B.C., Alberta and Ontario. All volunteers are paying 75% of their airfare expense, with 25% subsidies being provided by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) as part of a $190,000 CAD grant CMAT received to provide medical support to quake victims until April, 2006. In Muzzafferabad, the epicenter of the October 8 quake which killed over 80,000 persons, CMAT nurses and medical staff have been praised for training nurses and paramedical staff on wound care practices and standards. Five staff and 3 nurses on the surgical wards at Abbass Hospital in Muzzafferabad have completed a Wound Care Training program developed by CMAT volunteers and certificates will be issued. CMAT medical volunteers established a wound care clinic at the hospital which has been seeing numerous patients streaming into the area from outlying areas. Hundreds of infected, gangrenous and old wounds were treated.

Meanwhile, CMAT is also coordinating with the UN Shelter Cluster and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on deployment of 1,000 winterized tents and 5,000 thermal blankets to quake victims in Pakistan. The relief items are being purchased and distributed directly by CMAT from a $300,000 CAD grant from Michigan, USA-based Mercy-USA. CMAT has learned from the UN Shelter Cluster that 90% of the 400,000 tents distributed so far are not suitable for winter conditions which is threatening to cause a new shelter crisis as winter arrives in full force. CMAT has verified with IOM officials that the tents it is acquiring do, in fact, meet relief requirements for this area and CMAT plans to have all tents distributed by the end of this month. Ms. Tara Newell, CMAT Director of Overseas Projects and a SPHERE trained consultant, will oversee the distribution of the tents. Moreover, Ms. Newell will be performing a SPHERE audit of CMAT’s overall relief work in Pakistan thus far so as to ensure that CMAT’s work complies with this internationally recognized disaster code of conduct.

CMAT Team 9 will deploy December 9 to Muzzafarabad, Pakistan. Members include: Dr. Roy Jefferey; Fatima Merchant, Registered Nurse; Rose-Marie Dolinar, Registered Nurse; Jill Allen, Registered Nurse. They will be joined by six more CMAT members on December 16th, and another six on December 23rd.

CMAT wishes to express its gratitude to all of its wonderful volunteers, at home and abroad, who have made a difference in the lives of the people of Pakistan affected by the devastating quake. Thank you for representing Canadians in the best way possible and making us proud.

CMAT is urgently appealing for volunteers for subsequent missions in the following specialties: physicians (primary care/mental health), nurses (wound care, public health, primary care and mental health), physiotherapists, orthotic/prosthetic specialists, social workers/counselors. All volunteers are requested to make a minimum three week commitment and are requested to be prepared to foot their own airfare bills (to save on administrative expenses – tax receipts will be issued in accordance with CCRA guidelines). CMAT has some funds available from CIDA to offset airfare expenses for deployments of three weeks or more.