As the Covid-19 is getting critical hour by hour, the provincial health department announced a series of steps to tackle the emerging challenge.
One of these steps was establishing five hospitals and high dependency units with 800 beds, including oxygen delivery systems.
Health Minister Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho said, “To provide treatment to Covid-19 patients, the government plans to set up five more hospitals with the help of the Frontier Works Organization. High dependency units with 800 beds would be available by the end of July while some 210 ventilators would be added into the system”.
She also talked about how the government managed to face the challenges in its fight against Coronavirus; according to her, the difficulty caused in the initial procurement of ventilators was due to an embargo imposed internationally on their export.
Reportedly, all major hospitals across the country are running out of capacity and are saying NO to more extended treatment to patients suffering from other diseases.
Considering the fragility of our healthcare system, experts had warned the government not to relax the lockdown. Due to economic crunch, the restrictions relaxed, followed by the lifting of the lockdown on May 22, which has pushed the rate of infection positivity to multiple times across the country.
Dr. Palitha Mahipala, WHO country head for Pakistan penned in a letter, “The rate is high, the surveillance system is weak, there is a limited capacity to provide for critical patients and the population is not ready to adapt to change in behavior”.
In the case of Karachi, over 1,000 new Covid-19 cases daily followed by a significant rise in mortalities; yesterday alone, 1,408 cases were reported in Karachi and 12 deaths, increasing the city toll to 41,303 and 696 deaths.
Answering a question regarding the government initiatives, Dr. Atif Hafeez, the Pakistan Islamic Medical Association, said: “It’s not just insufficient but also ineffective as the government has no plan to meet the shortages in the number of health professionals urgently required to run the system.”
According to Hafeez, hospitals are losing staff as more and more professionals are contracting the virus; some of the lady doctors have also abandoned their training for fear of the Coronavirus.