Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) training for Mental Health Workers in Earthquake affected areas in Pakistan
The aim of the project is to train and supervise existing mental health workers in earthquake affected areas in Pakistan in Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) technique. The project will last approximately for eighteen months.
Earthquake in Pakistan
On 8th October 2005, a devastating earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck northern Pakistan. The magnitude of the earthquake was such that it collapsed mountains, altered the course of water ways, and wiped entire villages off the face of the earth. Some 400,000 houses were destroyed and over 73,000 people perished including some 35,000 children. On that fateful Saturday morning, tens of thousands of families lost an entire generation, children left for school but never returned. Over 135,000 were injured, mostly women children and elderly. The entire population went through extremely traumatic experiences.
Varying prevalence rates of Post traumatic stress disorder have been reported after earthquakes. In Turkey prevalence rate of 43% has been reported.(Basoglu et al 2002). There is no published prevalence study published after Pakistan earthquake. However 16% of patients seen after earthquake in Muzafarabad fulfil PTSD criteria.
The figure is based on last year case load of psychiatrists in Abbas Hospital in Muzaffarabad. Another unpublished study by Prof. Mufti in Balkot show 51% of patients seen by psychiatrists to be suffering from PTSD. Previous research on survivors of such large scale natural disasters show that psychological trauma if left untreated, leads to chronic psychopathology, impairment in functioning and loss of productivity(Montazeri et al, 2005). Hence effective intervention is required to prevent such outcomes.
Current Situation in Pakistan
In Pakistan concentrated efforts are being made for rehabilitation of affected people. Currently Pakistani mental health workers are working in disaster areas. Training in EMDR will be very useful for them.