According to news reports, infections among Pakistani healthcare workers have increased by a whopping 75 per cent in just the last week. The rapid surge in the coronavirus cases in Pakistan has not only made the general public vulnerable but also healthcare workers without whose efforts the situation cannot be managed.
The death of doctors in Sindh, KP and recent case in Karachi illustrate how they could not get space for COVID-19’s treatment. Treating the patients without Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has caused insecurity among the health care staff across the country. How can the government not be able to provide the most basic care of the people who risk their lives to take care of the sick and infected? And that too at such a critical point in time?
Infections among Pakistani healthcare workers
Just a week ago news headlines spoke of doctors, nurses and paramedics going on a hunger strike in Lahore because the government was not providing them with PPE that they needed. And who could have forgotten how Quetta police beat up and arrested doctors early this month because they too were forced to come out onto the street to demand the protective equipment without which treating coronavirus patients, it is like taking a poison pill for yourself and your family. Who, then, should be held responsible for such a huge number of doctors falling prey to the pandemic?
Surely governments realise that whenever they are faced with something even resembling a crisis, much less the existential battle the whole world is fighting right now, they must always make contingency plans for the worst-case scenario. Sometimes as is the case, there can be a whole range of worst-case scenarios as opposed to just one isolated incident. However, one particularly bad case scenario that can emerge from the present crisis is that of a large number of doctors falling victim to the coronavirus.
And since we are still in the process of conjecture, might we also ask what plans the government will fall back on if a rather large number of doctors are, in the very worst-case scenario, killed by the epidemic? Who then would not just lookout for all the new and old patients but also do the vital work in terms of providing feedback to companies fighting day and night to develop a cure for this menace? The government needs to revise its strategy rather urgently. So far, it is guilty of overlooking the safety of the most important fighters in this fight, which, once again, is simply unacceptable.
The health care system in Pakistan is already fragile in Pakistan, if health workers are not protected with required health security chances of prevalent controlled situation of spread of virus could go beyond the control.
Senior doctor died in KPK due to coronavirus
According to hospital Director Dr. Shahzad Faisal, Professor Dr. Mohammad Javed had contracted the coronavirus a week earlier. Dr Javed, who was also an ear nose throat specialist, was kept on a ventilator when his condition deteriorated, however, he could not survive.
Prominent Dr Abdul Qadir Soomro died of coronavirus in Sindh:
Dr Abdul Qadir Soomro, a senior doctor and a leading dermatologist breathed his last on the 4th of April after getting infected with coronavirus in Karachi, raising the death toll of health professionals dying from the pandemic to three in the country.
Soomro was diagnosed with the coronavirus on the 2nd of April after which he was shifted to a local hospital. Earlier, as a frontline doctor, he had helped to establish a special ward for the coronavirus patients in Al-Khidmat Hospital.
Dr Abdul Qadir Soomro was the former head of Pakistan Medical Islamic Association and former medical superintendent at Steel Mills Hospital. Senior politicians and government officials have condoled his death and recalled his valuable services for the health sector in Pakistan.
Pakistan People’s Party leaders including chief minister Sindh, Murad Ali Shah, Sherry Rehman, and Nafisa Shah have expressed deep sorrow and grief on the demise of Dr.Abdul Qadir Soomro.