90pc of promised beds provided to hospitals: Asad

Updated 16 Jul 2020

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Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar had promised in June that the government would provide 2,000 beds to hospitals by the end of July. — AFP/File
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar had promised in June that the government would provide 2,000 beds to hospitals by the end of July. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has announced that 1,825 (over 90pc) of the 2,000 promised beds equipped with oxygen facility have been provided to hospitals across the country, while the remaining ones dedicated for coronavirus patients will be provided soon.

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar had promised in June that the government would provide 2,000 beds to hospitals by the end of July, after several hospitals ran short of oxygenated beds amid sudden spike in Covid-19 cases. The situation deteriorated so much that even a doctor in need of ventilator or oxygenated bed died while being shifted from one hospital to another in Karachi.

On Wednesday, three more doctors — the vice chancellor of Multan’s Nishtar Medical University, an orthopaedic surgeon who was a college mate of Prime Minister Imran Khan, and a senior doctor in Karachi — lost battle against the novel coronavirus.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) Dr Zafar Mirza, who also contracted the virus some days ago, has expressed the hope that despite the fear of another spike in Covid-19 cases during the upcoming Eid, the satiation would be controlled with strict implementation of the health guideline and precautionary measures.

Three more doctors including Multan’s Nishtar university vice chancellor lose battle against Covid-19

Dr Mirza said health workers in Pakistan were rendering exemplary services with determination and the reduction in the number of new cases was due to the dutiful health workers.

Tweeting a video message, he said Pakistan’s initiatives for the protection of healthcare workers were being appreciated all over the world and it was noteworthy that despite limited resources, the government had given top priority to the protection of healthcare workers.

He said over 100,000 health workers were being given special training on proper use of personal protective equipment. Under WeCare programme, he said, more than 60,000 health professionals had already been trained in the four provinces, the federal capital, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

“I appeal to the people to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of their loved ones as well as front line health workers. The official guidelines announced for the occasion of Eidul Azha should be implemented in letter and spirit. People should use masks during Eid prayers and keep a distance of six feet between them to avoid the spread of Covid-19,” he said.

In a separate tweet, the federal Minister for Special Initiatives, who chairs meetings of the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Covid-19, announced that over 90pc of beds (i.e. 1,825) had been provided to hospitals across the country. Among them, he said, “550 beds have been provided in Islamabad, 480 in Punjab, 125 to Sindh, 390 to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 150 to Balochistan, 40 to Gilgit-Baltistan and 90 beds have been provided in AJK.”

Spokesperson for the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) Sajid Shah told Dawn that the government was trying to complete the task of providing all 2,000 beds at the earliest. “We will provide the remaining 175 oxygenated beds much earlier than July 31,” he said, adding that the number of cases was also on the decline with the result that a large number of hospital beds across the country were unoccupied. However, he said, the beds had been provided to create a cushion to deal with any untoward situation.

PM condoles death of two doctors

Meanwhile, the prime minister condoled the demise of two senior doctors, including his Aitchison college mate, after contracting the novel coronavirus.

“My condolences and prayers go to the families of Mustafa Kamal Pasha, VC Nishtar Medical University, & Nadeem Mumtaz — both of whom passed away as a result of COVID19. Nadeem Mumtaz and I were together in Aitchison for 9 years,” he tweeted.

In a statement, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Secretary General Dr Qaisar Sajjad condoled the demise of NMU VC Dr Mustafa Kamal Pasha and Karachi’s renowned orthopaedic surgeon Dr Younis Hayder Soomro due to Covid-19.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2020