Islamabad - The deadly attack on a school in Peshawar has led to an atmosphere of gloom, anxiety and stress for those children who have survived as well as for the families of innocent injured children and teachers. Moreover, our society on the whole has suffered and is under stress due to this incident.

Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulation & Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar said this and directed the ministry to prepare a plan in coordination with key stakeholders in support of provincial and military efforts for provision of counselling sessions on “post-traumatic stress management” on immediate basis for victims of this incident, including students, their families and teachers, which would help them recover from the shock they have undergone. In this context the ministry notified a six-member committee comprising members from mental health and non communicable disease coordination cell of ministry of NHSRC, Army Medical Corps, expert psychiatrists from Islamabad and Peshawar, World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and DFID.

The notified committee held an emergency meeting the other day with an objective to prepare an emergency plan for counselling sessions to be rolled out as early as possible to make available IEC material, messages, modules on post traumatic stress disorder sessions and to develop strategy to mitigate effects of the incident through media.

The meeting was held with representative of all concerned officials and development partners. It was decided that the required plan would be finalised by the ministry by Monday morning in consultation of Prof Dr Farid Minhas, WHO collaborating centre and Prof Rizwan Taj jointly, while DFID and UNICEF would be providing relevant support. Moreover a coordination mechanism would be developed with operational management and provincial government at Peshawar to get a need assessment carried out on urgent basis and support in implementation of the counselling sessions.