LAHORE: Amid reports of a rapidly rising trend of Covid-19 deaths in Punjab, the latest official figures show that 101 out of the total 123 tehslil headquarters (THQ) hospitals across the province are functioning without ventilators – the equipment that can save lives of critical patients.

The data shows that only 47 ventilators are available in the rest of 22 THQ hospitals of Punjab.

Similarly, the situation is also not so enviable in the 19 district headquarters (DHQ) hospitals in the province, being controlled by the primary & secondary healthcare department (P&SHD), that have total 74 ventilators, and of these 47 have been allocated for the critical Covid-19 patients.

Meanwhile, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid says that presently there are total 251 critical Covid-19 patients in the province.

Talking to the media persons here on Tuesday, she said the provincial capital and Rawalpindi were having 119 and 113 Covid patients, respectively.

She rejected the allegations of figure fudging, saying a central control room established in Lahore was compiling the data.

The health minister further said that of the total Covid-19 patients, 25 were females, while 75 were males.

As per the fresh official figures, compiled on May 30, P&SHD was managing total 142 DHQ and THQ hospitals in Punjab having total bed strength of 14,082, of which 2,744 beds have been allocated for the Covid-19 patients.

All these hospitals were housing 357 Covid-19 patients so far and have total 121 ventilators, according to the figures.

Of these life-saving equipment, the department allocated 79 for the critical patients of the coronavirus.

Though many districts of the province are reporting an alarming number of confirmed Covid-19 patients, most of the state-run hospitals there lack the required facilities to cater to the needs of critical patients. The 140-bed Government Shahbaz Sharif DHQ Hospital in Multan is one example having only one ventilator.

According to the official figures, Multan is among the five cities of Punjab reporting high number of virus carriers and Covid-19 deaths. The city has reported total 54 deaths and 1,677 confirmed cases of the virus, according to the statistics.

Similarly, the 250-bed Khanewal DHQ Hospital has only one ventilator, Lodharan DHQ two ventilators, Mandi Bahauddin three ventilators, Hafizabad, Norowal, Kasur, Jehlum, Pakpatan, Bhakar and Khushab DHQ hospitals have four ventilators each, Chakwal Okara and Mianwali DHQs have five each ventilators, while Toba Take Singh and Sheikhupura facilities have six ventilators each.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2020