National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has sent a large quantity of COVID-19 medical equipment to doctors and medical staff of around 202 hospitals in Sindh. According to NDMA spokesperson, the goods provided to Sindh included 1,155 surgical and 7,215 N-95 masks, 13,647 protective suits and 102,405 surgical gloves.
Since early March, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Foundation and Alibaba Foundation started sending cargo planes carrying medical equipment to Pakistan. Up till now, NDMA has accepted almost ten consignments from them – each containing tons of supplies. These included face masks, test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment.
The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan claims, “collectively, the nation will receive a total of 1.8 million masks; kits for testing 210,000 people, 36,000 pieces of protective clothing, as well as essential medical equipment such as ventilators and forehead thermometers.”
The COVID-19 medical supplies also comprised 5,208 body gowns, 6,493 shoe covers, 7,087 surgical caps and 1,863 face shields and 2,092 safety shields. “These medical supplies are sent in the name of each hospital’s Medical Superintendent. It has also been ensured that the equipment is accessible only to the hospital staff,” he added. Furthermore, hospitals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Punjab will receive the additional COVID-19 supplies.
The Chinese Embassy of Pakistan has been regularly posting updates on this whole endeavour on microblogging website Twitter. These tweets are constantly boasting the friendship between Pakistan and China through the hashtag #ChinaPakSolidarity.
PIA special plane with 50 donated ventilators, equip & PPEs left Chengdu for Islamabad today. One plane of relief goods from Beijing went yesterday. All out efforts by all in Embassy to help #NDMA@ForeignOfficePk @zlj517 @ShireenMazari1 @appcsocialmedia pic.twitter.com/nKD6xvkMVw
— Amb Naghmana Hashmi (@AmbNaghmanaHash) April 10, 2020
It is high time to distribute adequate medical equipment to frontline workers and hospitals throughout the country. Currently, around 4,892 cases have been confirmed in Pakistan, with 77 confirmed deaths. However, one positive aspect is that some 762 patients have recovered completely.
This viral spread can decrease drastically if we provide ample Personal Protective equipment (PPE) to our essential workers. Moreover, we can also see a stagnancy in the death toll once hospitals receive adequate number of ventilators. This lag in distribution of medical equipment is an example of sheer mismanagement. Where are the tons of medical supplies?