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Thursday December 01, 2022

Health experts urge authorities to repair damaged roads before ‘commuters get permanently disabled’

October 14, 2022

Islamabad: Most of Karachi’s road infrastructure had been destroyed following the monsoon rains and now a large number of people were complaining of lower back pain, and joints pain because they traveled on the city’s broken thoroughfares, health experts on Thursday said, urging people to take precautionary measures to prevent themselves from doing permanent damage to their bodies.

“A large number of people, especially motorcyclists and women who use rickshaws for commuting, are coming up with complaints of lower back and joint pain due to regular travel on broken roads of Karachi. People should take precautionary measures to prevent their bodies from permanent damage till authorities decide to revamp the road infrastructure in the megacity,” renowned rheumatologist and Pak-American Arthritis Centre Medical Director Dr Saliha Ishaq told reporters following a medical camp at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Thursday.

Over 100 journalists and their family members were examined and treated by rheumatologists, orthopedic surgeons, and physiotherapists at the medical camp, which was jointly organised by the health committee of the KPC in collaboration with Ehad Medical Centre and Pak-American Arthritis Centre, in connection with World Osteoporosis Day.

Claiming that roads in other countries of the world last for years and decades once constructed, Dr Ishaq, one of the five American-trained rheumatologists in the country, deplored that most of the roads washed away during the recent rains in the city although many of them were reconstructed or repaired a few weeks prior to the monsoon season. Accompanied by other health experts, including Ehad Medical Centre Medical Director Dr Faraz Hashmi, Dr Ishaq claimed that around 56 per cent of young motorcyclists in Karachi were suffering from chronic lower back pain due to injuries they suffer while riding motorcycles on dilapidated roads with depressions, potholes, and open manholes.

Urging the authorities to launch an immediate drive to repair the main and branch roads in the city to prevent young men and women from getting permanently disabled due to dilapidated roads in the megalopolis, she said their research and data collected from various health facilities indicate that around 56 per cent of motorcyclists, mostly young college and university students, were complaining of chronic lower back pain due to broken roads of Karachi.

“Many motorcyclists are now unable to ride their bikes for sustaining serious damage to their ligaments or backbone because of the dilapidated condition of roads in Karachi. It's alarming. And I say this because many motorcyclists are now found unable to ride their bikes after sustaining serious damage to their ligaments or backbone because of the dilapidated condition of roads in Karachi."

She referred to the unprecedented increase in the complaints of muscle and joint pain, which led to an effort to collect the data and ascertain the reason behind the fresh trend. She warned that if the timely treatment of such problems was not carried out, it could damage the quality of life. "So, we advise people with such complaints to approach trained and qualified rheumatologists for the timely diagnosis and treatment for their conditions. Realising the growing need, Pakistan’s first arthritis centre has been launched in Karachi recently by a group of health experts for the early diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal diseases and systemic autoimmune conditions, commonly referred to as rheumatic diseases," she added.

Dr Ishaq informed that rheumatoid arthritis or RA was an autoimmune and inflammatory disease in which the immune system of a person attacks healthy cells in their body by mistake, causing inflammation in the affected parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis mainly attacked the joints, usually many joints at once.

Renowned physiotherapist Dr Abdul Majid said travel time had doubled and tripled in Karachi due to the dilapidated condition of roads, and a large number of people were complaining about lower back pain, cervical pain, and issues with bones and joints. He urged the people to exercise regularly to remain fit and strong enough to ‘survive’ the trauma of traveling on Karachi’s roads.

Dr Faraz Hashmi of the Ehad Medical Centre said they were offering specialised treatment and care facilities for people having a backache, and other issues of muscles, skeleton, and joints at dozens of their branches in Karachi.

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