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German doctors in Pakistan.


Three German doctors and a surgery nurse have decided to forego well deserved vacations beneath tropical palms or in crisp mountain air to head for Pakistan, where the quarter from Duisburg (located at the western end of the Ruhr District) hope to help both Afghan refugees and resident Pakistanis near the refugee camps. The four, including plastic surgeons Peter Preissler and Juergen Toenissen, anesthesiologist Harald Hofer, and anesthesiological nurse Dagmar Klode, will travel to Peshawar, the border city near the Khyber Pass, to operate people with congenital disfigurements or such resulting from war injuries.

"The gratitude of the people we are able to help is more than enough reward for all our efforts," says Dr. Preissler. "At first, they're mostly very sceptical," he says in recalling an earlier undertaking in Thai clinics and refugee camps along the border with Cambodia. "At times, too, they're very fearful, but, when they see themselves in the mirror after the operation, they're very, very happy." Because of the difficult working conditions in Pakistan, the medical team is bringing all kinds of equipment along, "simple devices, including a hand-operated bellows for maintaining the breathing of anesthesized patients," Dr. Hofer explained. "We know that we can manage without sophisticated technology," Dr. Toenissen added. The latter has previously worked in Third-World nations and is confident that complications will not crop up. He's determined to show patients and colleagues back home that effective help can also be provided by resorting to "basic methods."

The Duisburg team plans to work without pay in Pakistan for several weeks. Unlike earlier outings, however, they'll have their flight and board paid for by "Interplast-Germany," a nonprofit association which supports physicians who, through operations or other means, free patients of deformations of the face, hands, and feet, or of burn scars, skin tumors, or war-related ailments.

"Interplast-Germany" is one of numerous private German organizations helping Pakistan to expand and improve its health-care system. Another one is the "Hilfswerk Deutscher Zahnarzte fur Lepra und Not-gebiete" (Relief Agency of German Dentists for Leprosy and Emergency Regions-DAHW), which plays an integral role in the development of new pharmaceutical substances, and whose support for the Manghopir Leprosy Station began many years ago. Today, the Mari-Adelaide Leprosy Centre in Karachi is the focus of DAHW activities. It is here, for instance, that Pakistani specialists are trained with German assistance, from here, all of Pakistan's leprosy control measures are coordinated. The woman physician who has run, the station for many years, Dr. Pfau of Germany, also serves as the liaison to the Government of Pakistan.

Measures of the German Federal Government in Bonn to maintain and improve health-care services in Pakistan are important elements in the economic cooperation efforts agreed to with Pakistan. Pakistan ranks fifth among nations receiving German development support while the Federal Republic of Germany is Pakistan's third most important provider of bilateral support. Overall, a total of almost 4,000 million German Marks had been provided in financial and technical assistance to the nation up to the end of 1989. Special projects are also included in this figure. Considerable sums are also being provided for special programmes for refugees to help Pakistan manage the problems resulting from the influx of almost three million Afghan refugees.

Projects to consolidate the infrastructure for health-care services feature prominently in the bilateral assistance efforts in this sector. These include the establishment of basic health-care units, programmes for hygiene instruction, and measures in the sanitation area. Also important is providing instruction for qualified medical staff. For instance, the Federal Republic of Germany has provided more than 18 million German Marks so far for the expansion of a children's hospital in Quetta (Province of Balochistan) and about 5.4 million Marks to provide medical equipment for 17 rural hospitals and two urban training hospitals, all of them located in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). More than 20 million Marks have gone into sanitation and hygiene projects, about 6 million Marks into the establishment of a training facility for arthopedic technicians on the grounds of the Khyber Teaching Hospital, and four million Marks have been earmarked by the German Federal Govt. for the work of the Public Health Engg. Department of NWFP.

PHOTO : A team of Duisburg physicians and a surgical nurse (from left to right) Jurgen Toenissen and Peter Preissler (plastic surgeons) Dagmar Klode (anesthetic nurse) and Harald Hofer (anesthesiologist).
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Title Annotation:Global Outlook
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Aug 1, 1990
Previous Article:Sri Lanka.
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