Saturday, May 30, 2020

Sindh hospitals look forward to getting more equipment in next fiscal year

By Mukhtar Alam
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sindh public sector health facilities, faced with severe shortage of life supporting machines and equipment, may start receiving ventilators at the beginning of the new fiscal year, this emerged on May 29.

At a meeting of the Sindh Coronavirus Emergency Fund Committee meeting, chaired by Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah, Director General of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority said that 100 ventilators, previously ordered, will be received by June 25 this year. 

Giving various approvals of new procurement under the emergency fund committee, the Chief Secretary, who heads the committee, told the meeting that an amount of Rs 1.5 billion has so far been spent out of a total of Rs 3.61 billion collected in the fund.

In the meantime, the committee approved a sanction of Rs 466 million coming from the budget of Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) for purchases of 168 ventilators, while another Rs 237 million were approved for procurement of laboratory equipment besides other machinery and medical equipment.

Mumtaz Ali Shah said that the medical equipments were being purchased for the field isolation centers established at the Karachi Expo Centre and PAF Museum and other hospitals of the province. 

He further said that the ventilators would be installed at different government hospitals. 

The Chief Secretary directed the Secretary Health, Zahid Abbasi during the meeting to establish coronavirus wards at the Sindh Government Hospitals in Korangi and New Karachi apart from Qatar Hospital in Orangi Town and the KMC-run Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. 

He also reviewed the progress on upgrading the ICUs and HDUs in public sector hospitals of province and inspection and audit of the medical equipment being delivered to hospitals.

Meanwhile the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) expressed its concern over the increasing number of deaths of doctors in the country due to coronavirus, mentioning the deaths of doctors within the last 24 hours, Dr Sana Fatima from Lahore and Dr Zubair Ahmed from Quetta and  Dr Naeem Agha, also in Quetta.

“Protection of doctors is a very serious issue and we have been continuously raising our voice for the protection of doctors. We have written letters to the Prime Minister of Pakistan and to the Chief Ministers of all provinces,” Dr S M Qaiser Sajjad, PMA Secretary General, observed in a statement on May 29, adding that there were flaws due to which doctors continued suffering.

Anticipating a further worsening of COVID-19 situation in the country the PMA leader noted that, with the increasing number of patients, the government should increase the facilities at hospitals. 

“The quantity of trained staff, beds, ventilators, C-pap and Bi-pap (non-invasive ventilation machines) should be increased at all corona designated hospitals,” he urged.

Coronavirus Update: Sindh’s record deaths, lack of information cause alarms

By Mukhtar Alam
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

While working at a slow pace the provincial government, yet to procure intensive care related machines and other medical equipment for public sector health units, confirmed unprecedented demise of 30 more coronavirus infected patients in Karachi during the last 24 hours, on May 29, with 804 new infections across the province. 

According to the official COVID-19 summary, the overall Sindh’s death toll rose to 427, an average over six deaths every day since March 20 when the province had reported its first such death, while the total number of infections grew to 26,113, out of which 12,750 could recover from the lethal disease. 

However, the health department’s personnel, despite requests and queries, did not go beyond death number and ages of deceased patient.

Such a silence over heap of deaths with no provision of hospital names and information about patients stay period at hospitals, their health history and kind of treatment they were given at hospitals and why they could not be saved, in contrary to recent past when the provincial health minister by herself had been discussing every COVID deaths in detail, has confused the citizens as well as the covering journalists. 

A senior public health concern, requesting not to be named, said that the recovery rate was increasing but still so many deaths, seemed beyond comprehension and reflected poorly on the quality of treatment and care the coronavirus patients have been getting at the government and privately-run hospitals. 

The authorities should ensure a line listing of deaths, which normally includes dates of admission and death; patient name, address, gender and ethnic group; presenting complaint; duration of symptoms; summary of physical examination; and the diagnosis presumed to be the cause of death, he added saying summary of such measures can be released on a daily basis to win the trust of the community in their physicians and care providers, otherwise the official figures will serve just a mind-boggling reference. 

A senior microbiologist, Prof Dr Shahana Urooj Kazami, reckoned that the government was yet to attain the right direction to overcome the corona epidemic.

“I am expecting a further increase in the count of infection and death as well as asymptomatic cases in the next two weeks,” she assessed, adding that those who went shopping and other activities during the relaxed lockdown got exposed and the virus was incubating in their bodies (4-14 days’ incubation period) which could lead to another spike in cases. 

Another perception was that perhaps the hospitals had lost their craftsmanship and just issuing the death certificates. 

The hospitals should be held accountable for every death; there was no active internal/external audit system in the issue of deaths and patient care, therefore it should be outlook of the chief executive of the province now to rectify the affairs at the hospitals, said a keen observer. 

According to the data released on May 29, a total of 31 deaths occurred due to corona infection during the last 24 hours, including 30 at Karachi. All deaths, according to the health department personnel, were reported from different hospitals. 

At Karachi, eight women who lost their lives were in the age brackets of 30 to 80 years, while 22 men deceased aged between 40 to 88 years. Apart from Karachi, Kashmore district reported its solitary death, an 86-year-old male patient. 

Giving a summary of deaths among coronavirus patients across the country, another report revealed that 73% deceased had co-morbidity, 93% deceased remained hospitalized, with average hospital stay of 4.66 days; 57% among hospitalized remained on ventilators, with average ventilator stay of 2.78 days. 

It was further learnt that of the 186 admissions at the Aga Khan University Hospital, 43 patients were cured while another 43 succumbed to the lethal disease. Similarly, at the Civil Hospital Karachi 36 were cured, 28 died, out of 131 admissions, at Indus Hospital eight were cured while 35 died out of 89 admitted patients. 

At Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre 15 got cured, while 57 lost lives, out of 109 admissions; at Dow University Hospital 30 were cured out of 156 admissions while the death toll came as 54. Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation cured 31 of the 142 admissions, while 53 died; at Ziauddin Hospital 10 cured, 20 lost life, out of 54 admissions. 

Sindh’s 804 newly detected infection cases included 634 from Karachi followed by Hyderabad (37), Sukkur (31), Ghotki (24), Larkana (23), Jacobabad (10), Jamshoro (10), Badin (7), Shikarpur (7), Dadu (4), Matiari (4), Umerkot (3), Mirpurkhas (2), Sanghar (2), Shaheed Benazirabad (1), Naushero Feroze (1), Kashmore (1) and Tando Mohammad Khan (1).

Punjab minister reports encouraging results from COVID-19 injection

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

As a record number of 57 people lost their battle against fatal coronavirus disease in Pakistan during the last 24 hours, the Punjab Health Minister, Dr Yasmeen Rashid, claimed to have obtained encouraging results from the trial on COVID-19 patients by using injection that originally used for the treatment of some other ailment.

She stated that the injections could be applied twice within 24 hours on acute coronavirus patients. 

The cost of the two set of injections is over Rs 100,000 which, according to her, was being borne by the government. 

She further said that as many as 10 patients have so far recovered by using this injection. 

Meanwhile, the Punjab Kidney & Liver Transplant Institute (PKLTI) has initiated treatment of coronavirus patients with plasma. 

The authorities have appealed to people, having recovered from the virus, to come forward and donate their plasma to save the lives of others.

Pakistan’s flag returns after space voyage

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

 A national flag of Pakistan, which returned after the space voyage, was handed back to the Pakistan Ambassador to China, Naghmana Hashmi at a ceremony held at the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) in Beijing on May 29.

The national flag was sent to outer space onboard Tian on May 5, 2020 and re-entered earth on May 8. The space module was launched into outer space by a Long March 5B rocket. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Pakistan Ambassador congratulated the Chinese research institutions for the successful space mission. 

Recalling excellent bilateral cooperation between the two countries in outer space ventures, 

Ambassador Hashmi referred to launching of PRSS-1 and PakTES-1 satellites in July 2018. The two sides are engaged in regular technology transfer and exchange of experts and delegations. 

The Ambassador hoped that China and Pakistan would further build on their cooperation in space exploration, leading to the travel of first Pakistani astronaut to space in 2022. For this purpose, Pakistan and China had signed an agreement for Cooperation in Human Space Flight Activities in April 2019.

Nisar Memon desires government support for restaurants

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Desiring governmental support for the small restaurants all over the country, Senator Nisar Memon has urged the authorities to be compassionate with this particular sector, so badly hit by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The Punjab government has reportedly allowed opening of the restaurants. Notwithstanding its impact on current COVID-19 spread, the small restaurant owners are suffering two-folds. Firstly with the loss of revenue and secondly they are enduring the burden of paying their staff for all these three months,” the former Federal Minister highlighted in his statement issued on May 29. 

“In view of this, it is just and prudent to allow opening of restaurants with some SOPs particularly in small towns like Gharo on N5 in Thatta and all the way up to Kashmore. The Sindh government will earn the goodwill of its people suffering from this comparative disadvantage,” he advised. 

“Civil services, including the police, should mitigate and not enhance the sufferings due to current economic situation. Let the elected representatives stand up and give their views to the Sindh government which has done a good job despite man-made difficulties coupled with natural calamity since the beginning of this year. This is also time for federal government to help the way they helped daily wages workers,” Senator Nisar Memon concluded.