Hand-washing booths to be installed at shelter homes

By Adnan Rafique

ISLAMABAD: In view of the looming threat of coronavirus, the government has boosted its efforts to protect shelter homes inmates through inclusive steps, aimed at ensuring neat and clean facilities for those who are especially vulnerable to contract the deadly virus due to minimal access to electronic media and public awareness messages.
“On the first leg, mobile teams have been designated for all the eight ‘Panah Gahas’ (shelter homes) of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, which are currently busy in giving practical demonstration to its visitors and dwellers on mask wearing, personal hygiene, and use of soap and sanitizers,†Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Shelter Homes Naseemur Rehman said during his visit to the Tarlai facility.
Tarlai ‘Panah Gaha’, which is among the eight shelter homes of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, is located on the federal capital’s outskirts and provide night-stay and food to around 150 homeless and needy every day.
“Out-reach team and face to face communication is principle focus of our awareness creation strategy due to low literacy rate of the shelter homes’ dwellers,†he said while highlighting the initiatives taken by the administration on the instruction of Prime Minister Imran Khan for safety of the ‘Panah Gahas’ inmates.
Naseem pointed out that the government had recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) to install hand-washing booths at all the shelter homes, operating across the country.
“As part of the efforts to ensure neat and clean environment and reduce risk of infection at all the shelter homes, its administrations will be collaborating with the SPO shortly for ensuring provision of clean water with chlorination,†he said.
Efforts were also afoot for disinfection of the facilities in the worst case scenario, he added.
The focal person said thermo guns had been installed for screening of every visitor, arriving at the facilities set up across the country to provide food and shelter to the downtrodden segments of the society.
Provision of soaps, sanitizers and faces masks had also been ensured to make sure the safety of each and every dweller of the shelter homes, he added.
Naseem said the health advisory containing precautionary measures had been forwarded to volunteers and service providers of Panah Gahas for educating the facility’s beneficiaries about the coronavirus.
The administrations of shelter homes had also been provided audio clips containing information about safety measures against the deadly virus so that they could forward it to every dweller of shelter homes.
“Shelter homes’ beneficiaries have been advised to avoid physical contact and keep at least a distance of three feet with each other, wash hands properly with soap, abstain from touching doors and their knobs unnecessarily,†he said, adding “the safety and health of masses is our top most priority.â€
The focal person said a team of 11 volunteers comprising locals and volunteers had also been formed to handle day-to-day affairs of every shelter home. The initiative was also aimed at getting input from its dwellers to ensure improved services there, he added.
Naseem said the segmentation of people staying at the shelter homes were also underway in a bid to provide due care to elderly and especially vulnerable people.
He said the temperature of every resident was being monitored regularly to refer them to the nearby government hospital in case of detection of the virus in any person. A referral system was also being set up in that regard.
Some 50 shelter homes were functional across the country, facilitating to some 600,000 poor people per month.