Sindh working on increasing hospitals' capacity for Covid-19 patients in Karachi as space running out

28 May 2020

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People shop at a market in Karachi on May 28. — AFP
People shop at a market in Karachi on May 28. — AFP

The Sindh health department on Thursday said that it was currently in the process of increasing the capacity of hospitals in Karachi to cater to patients suffering from Covid-19.

So far, Sindh has reported 25,309 cases, the highest number out of all the provinces, and 396 deaths. Of the total number of cases, 20,193 have been reported in Karachi.

According to a document from the health department dated May 28, there are currently 226 beds for Covid-19 patients in intensive care units (ICUs) across the province.

Of these, 118 are at various hospitals in Karachi, out of which 103 are currently occupied.

On the other hand, Sindh has a total of 287 beds at high dependency units (HDUs) for Covid-19 patients out of which 174 are Karachi; 163 are currently occupied.

Meanwhile, out of 1,189 isolation beds, 312 are in Karachi out of which 144 are currently occupied. This figure does not, however, include the space available in specialised isolation centres such as the one set up at the Karachi Expo Centre. According to the health department, half of the 1,200 beds at the facility are currently occupied.

In light of these statistics, the Sindh health department has said that it is working on increasing the capacity of hospitals over the next few days.

Speaking to Dawn.com, Media Coordinator for the Sindh Health and Population Welfare Department Meeran Yousuf said that 200 beds will be increased at Nipa Hospital of which 140 will be allocated for the HDU and the remaining for the ICU.

An additional 50 beds will be made available at the isolation facility established at Gulistan-i-Jauhar and 38 beds at Dow University Hospital, Ojha Campus within the next 10 days, she said.

Further, 150 beds will be added to the HDU at Civil Hospital while 55 beds will be added to Lyari General Hospital within the next week, she added.

Yousuf added that they were also trying to procure 200 more ventilators and had placed orders with three companies for the purpose. "The problem is that the entire world is facing a shortage," she said.

"But this may not be enough," lamented Yousuf, "given how lightly people have been taking the situation." She added that they are closely monitoring the situation and will likely further have to increase the capacity as the number of patients rise.

Earlier in the day, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah visited the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) at Nipa where he was briefed by the health secretary.

According to a press release, Shah said that he had already released Rs1.2 billion to complete construction work and procure the necessary equipment for the facility. The chief minister also directed officials to complete construction work as soon as possible to make the facility functional within a month's time.

Shah also visited the Dow University Dental Hospital opposite Karachi University. He directed the VC to complete work on the hospital within a month and make it functional for coronavirus patients.

He told officials concerned that he would visit the hospital once more to review the progress made.