Thursday, May 21, 2020

Concerns raised over rising COVID-19 infections among doctors

y Mukhtar Alam
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

As the rate of COVID-19 infection among the healthcare workers is on the rise, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has again expressed its concern over the life and health of doctors, nurses and paramedics working as frontline care providers in the case of coronavirus positive patients across the country. 

According to a report compiled at the national level, there are 1,359 doctors, nurses and health staff having contracted the COVID-19 disease across the country, which constituted three per cent of the national COVID-19 case count. 

As many as 67 new infections were confirmed among the healthcare providers during the last 24 hours, the report added on May 20. 

The PMA, in a statement issued by its Secretary General, Dr S M Qaiser Sajjad, highlighted that the healthcare providers concerned were working very hard at quarantine centres, isolations centres and high dependency units and at intensive care units to treat the coronavirus patients. 

“They are serving with dedication in hospital wards, emergencies and OPDs at both public and private sector hospitals.” 

While already faced with the threat of the lethal infections, people are attacking and destroying health facilities and threatening the healthcare workers, an unfortunate situation which may discourage and depress the healthcare workers, the doctors’ body added. 

“The situation will be very unfortunate if healthcare workers do not come to the hospitals due to such incidents and due to their stay in isolation due to coronavirus.” 

Dr Qaiser Sajjad urged the government to protect the healthcare workers from coronavirus by providing personal protecting equipments (PPEs) on regular basis. 

The healthcare workers must also be protected from violent mobs at hospitals and be provided with peaceful environment at their work places, he added while demanding reduction in the duty hours of the doctors to six hours only and provision of two-week leave for quarantining after one week of duty. 

In the meantime, the government should facilitate more and more people for coronavirus test and also provide all the required facilities to the patients at quarantine and isolation centres, the PMA statement stressed.

Coronavirus Update: Sindh deaths surpass 300

By Mukhtar Alam
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Yet another 17 people, including five in the age brackets of 15 to 48 years, died due to coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours in Sindh where such deaths spiked at the quickest rate in a span of 10 days, according to Sindh government COVID-19 reports. 

The province, enduring the coronavirus related deaths unabatedly, reported 127 deaths from May 11 to 20, pushing the Sindh tally of such deaths to 316, out of 18,964 cases, against 1,002 deaths out of 46,915 confirmed COVID-19 cases country wide since the outbreak of the disease on February 16. The numbers of deaths and new infections doubled in 14 days and 13 days respectively with almost same rates.

Though the Sindh health department has stopped providing details of patients’ circumstances and names of hospitals where they lost lives, it’s being reported that the majority of the patients died on ventilators during the last 24 hours. 

A department’s summary revealed that 12 patients including five women died in Karachi, aged 18, 20, 48, 58 and 65 years respectively while the deceased men’s ages were 46, 55, 57, 58, 58, 70 and 74 years respectively. 

At Hyderabad, two men of 57 and 68 respectively lost their lives while Shaheed Benazirabad, Badin and Mirpurkhas reported death of one man each, aged 15, 55 and 59 years, respectively. 

As many as 251 patients have so far died at government and private hospitals, including Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (43), Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (42), DUHS Ojha (42), Aga Khan University Hospital (33), Indus Hospital, Korangi (28), Civil Hospital Karachi (21) and others.

According to a national data, reportedly as many as 52 off ventilator deaths occurred during a period of May 5 to 19 in Sindh; 24 died at home, three brought dead to hospitals, six died as there was no time to shift, while 19 patients died suddenly with comorbid complications. 

In the meantime, according to the Sindh health department report, the province witnessed another 1,017 new COVID-19 cases during the last 24 hours at 8 am on May 20. 

Karachi reported the maximum 872 new cases followed by Hyderabad (27), Larkana (26), Shikarpur (18), Sukkur (16), Ghotki (16), Badin (8), Kambar Shahdakot (7), Thatta (7), Shaheed Benazirabad (6), Sanghar (4), Dadu (3), Sujawal (2), Mirpurkhas (2), Jacobabad (2) and Kashmore (1). 

The man-woman ratio of coronavirus patients stood as 73.3% and 26.3% respectively on May 20 in Sindh.

According to report, another 904 under treatment patients were tested negative, taking the tally of patients having recovered from the disease to 5,645 across the province.

Minister confident of eliminating locust with coordinated steps

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Federal Minister for Food Security, Syed Fakhar Imam, has said that coordinated steps were being taken at federal and provincial levels to eradicate the locusts.

Addressing a media briefing in Islamabad on May 20, he remarked that the locust attack was a global threat and government was taking all out steps to eradicate it in coordination with all stakeholders. 

Mentioning that locust can be eliminated at deserts and at croplands differently, he lauded the role of provincial governments as well as district administration and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in stemming the tide of this pest. 

The NDMA Chairman, Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, informed that the survey of 125,000 hectare areas of Balochistan, 87,000 hectares area of Punjab, 65,000 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 83,000 hectare area of Sindh had been completed during last 24 hours, adding that their organization had five helicopters for which kits have been procured from the US. 

He furthered shared that the NDMA has formed a committee to purchase six planes that will be used for spraying purposes on permanent basis.

Telehealth portal launched to cope with COVID-19

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Prime Minister Imran Khan launched Telehealth portal on May 20 to help provide consultancy to anyone experiencing any symptom of COVID-19 or needing guidance from doctors.

Pakistan has become the first country to launch such a facility for all its citizens across the country. It will serve as free medical consultation platform for patients to access doctors on mobile phones. 

The Prime Minister, during his brief remarks on the occasion, stated that interaction through the WhatsApp mobile numbers would help the patients get medical advice without leaving their homes. 

The facility will also ensure a direct contact between doctors and patients in a safe environment in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

People were reminded that coronavirus had impacted a large number of people worldwide and precaution was the only option left to avoid its infection until the availability of vaccine.

The Prime Minister advised the doctors, particularly lady doctors, to volunteer themselves by getting registered with the TeleHealth portal and provide remote assistance to the patients. 

Tania Aidrus of Digital Pakistan was recognized for having conceptualized the portal aimed at facilitating the general public in health sector. 

PM’s Special Assistant on Health, Dr Zafar Mirza, announced that the doctors could get registered themselves by accessing telehealth.gov.pk adding that overseas Pakistani doctors will also be welcomed to volunteer. 

Digital Pakistan’s chief, Tania Aidrus, added that the doctors in Pakistan could sign up for a free consultation with the patients and the citizens could call up a corona screening questionnaire on Whatsapp +92 300 1111166 and opt to speak to a doctor.