Nurses, midwives seek protective gear amid spread of coronavirus

Published April 28, 2020
Doctors in PPE carry out tests on a patient at a hospital in Muzaffargarh. — Photo courtesy: Government of Punjab/File
Doctors in PPE carry out tests on a patient at a hospital in Muzaffargarh. — Photo courtesy: Government of Punjab/File

KARACHI: The growing number of Covid-19 cases among healthcare providers indicates that a majority of health professionals, especially those in the private sector, are still without sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment.

It also reflects the courage on part of health professionals who decided to treat a critical (coronavirus positive) patient, though they do not have the protective gear, ignoring the risk that the infection posed to them and their families.

These concerns were raised on Monday at a press conference organised by a group of senior nurses and midwives at the Karachi Press Club.

The event began with an introduction of speakers by president of the Midwifery Association of Pakistan Arusa Lakhani. She urged the public to cooperate with the government, follow health guidelines and stay at home.

“This Eid the best thing could happen to us is to know that our loved ones are there to pray and care for us. Each one of us should demonstrate responsibility and avoid going out of home,” she said, adding that healthcare providers were facing a lot of difficulties in conducting their duties at government and private hospitals.

“But despite all challenges we want to work side by side with our doctors to save lives. The only thing we need from the public is cooperation,” she said, warning that the Covid-19 situation could worsen if people did not exercise caution.

Director of the Sindh Nursing Board Khairunnisa Khan spoke about the arrangements the board had made to ensure uninterrupted system of education for students during the lockdown.

“Our nursing and midwifery students are ready to join the government to help senior colleagues. The situation is very bad and we all have to fight the disease with full dedication,” she said.

Interim dean and professor at the Aga Khan University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery Dr Rozina Karmaliani said as soon as the Covid-19 challenge emerged, the university took special measures to train nurses and midwives.

“We are also training 200 nurses from other places to fight the coronavirus. The entire staff is working day and night to ensure that all patients get the best care,” she said, adding that people could also join this battle and save lives by staying at home.

Narrating a recent case highlighting how some healthcare workers have contracted the coronavirus, Mohammad Rizwan, a nurse at the Civil Hospital Karachi’s intensive care unit, said the staff handled a pregnant woman who was shifted to the ICU following an operation.

“But she died because her body despite being on a ventilator couldn’t maintain the required oxygen level. The baby, however, survived. After her death, we came to know through a test report that she was Covid-19 positive.”

Later, Mr Rizwan said, the entire staff went through coronavirus testing and some members were found to have the infection. They were now in isolation.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2020

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