By Mukhtar Alam
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Admitting the first COVID-19 infected patient of the country at the privately run Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) in Karachi over a month back was not any cumbersome action by its team of doctors, according to a communication of the hospital on March 31, when the overall tally of corona positive patients raised to 1,938, with 26 deaths, for the country.
Pakistan’s first case of Coronavirus infection, a 22-year-old, presented at the hospital on February 26 as he felt unwell and wanted to be tested for corona.
“Although he had COVID symptoms, he seemed healthy and calm,” Dr Faisal Mahmood of AKU Infectious diseases department recalled.
According to him, at a time when spread of the virus in many of the countries had become inevitable, he too was anticipating a healthcare emergency in Pakistan and as such he and his colleagues rapidly assessed the preparedness position and started coordinating with the Sindh and federal governments.
The health authorities confirmed its two maiden Coronavirus cases on February 26. The youth of Karachi in question, a student of the University of Karachi, had a history of travelling from February 6 to 19 in a group of 28 people to Iran, which was already in the grip of the in question virus, which originated from Wuhan city of China in the mid-December 2019.
“Once he (the KU student) tested positive, we admitted him immediately,” Dr Faisal Mahmood further said that since he and his team members were all prepared to deal with local corona patients, “it was an easy decision for the team: isolate him and go for supportive treatment.”
Not giving the in question patient’s stay at the hospital, the AKUH communication said that the man soon recovered.
“It was a memorable day for the patient, his family and the healthcare team when he was discharged from the hospital,” Dr Faisal Mahmood added. “He is now doing well, talking to the media, and spreading the message that being COVID positive is not a death sentence. You can get well.”
Referring to the increased number of corona cases in the country, Dr Faisal Mahmood remarked that this was not a fight that could be won through health workers or government measures only.
“This is a fight that every individual has to fight for themselves: reduce the risk of getting infected to reduce the chance of others getting infected from you to win the war against the virus going viral,” he remarked.
According to AKUH, the father of the patients had written a letter of appreciation to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, praising the provincial government for its timely response and the AKUH for the excellent care.
When contacted, a hospital’s personnel did not reveal the cost of the treatment in question and by whom it was borne, but mentioned that majority of the Coronavirus cases were being referred to the hospital by the Sindh government as their sponsor, while the remaining, who report to the hospital for treatment, either pay the cost by themselves or they are managed through the welfare fund of the hospital.
According to official data, there were as many as 1,938 confirmed COVID-19 patients, including 676 each in Punjab and Sindh. Sindh, where a total 51 patients have recovered from Coronavirus, recorded 49 new infections, all from Hyderabad involving tableeghi jamat members, while total death tally reached to eight.
The Sindh Health Minister, Dr Azra Pechuho confirmed two more deaths on March 31. She revealed that the deceased persons were aged 70 and 74 years respectively.