PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is considering a plan to stop admission of Covid-19 patients to the medical teaching institutions and send the people affected with the coronavirus to the two dedicated hospitals, which are ready to accept the patients.
Officials said that implementation of the plan was, however, linked to the people’s behaviour on Eidul Azha. If they adhered to social distancing measures, then the medical teaching institutions would be opened for general patients and the Covid-19 patients would be sent to the new facilities, they added.
“The chief minister inaugurated 58-bed Covid-19 ward at Institute of Hepatology on July 10, where three specialists, 16 medical officers, 37 technicians and 50 supporting staffers have been deployed but the facility is unused so far,” said officials.
According to them, Peshawar Institute of Cardiology is also ready to admit Covid-19 patients where 50 beds have already been installed and 100 more will be ready by July 30 and as many by August 15. Both the hospitals can accommodate 308 Covid-19 patients.
Health experts fear surge in virus cases after Eidul Azha
Khyber Teaching Hospital, Hayatabad Medical Complex and Lady Ready Hospital have been closed for general patients for the last four months due to the pandemic. Lately there has been 70 per cent decline in Covid-19 cases, prompting the authorities to divert the patients to the two newly-established facilities and open the MTIs for general patients.
“We are likely to make a decision after a week or two after Eidul Azha following seeing if the downward trend of coronavirus patients continues or it goes up,” said the officials. They said that in June, the hospitals were crowded with patients owing to non-observance of standard operating procedures (SOPs) on Eidul Fitr.
On July 20, National Command and Operation Centre Islamabad issued guidelines to the provinces in the light of which Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Secretary Dr Kazim Niaz asked the home and tribal affairs and local government departments to ensure adherence to SOPs at cattle markets before Eidul Azha.
The directive was meant to ensure that the country doesn’t see rerun of the situation of Eidul Fitr with regard to surge in Covid-19 crisis. However, people continue to flout SOPs.
Prof Mohammad Amjad Taqweem, CEO of Health Net Hospital, told Dawn that people must follow the SOPs. “That has been the problem throughout this pandemic. Nobody is listening to government or doctors. The government is powerless to implement its own orders,” he added.
Prof Amjad said that government, opposition, religious scholars, businessmen and common people were either following their own agenda or entertainingly one of the conspiracy theories, which by the way were many from poisonous injection to 5G internet towers, but all were hell bent on not carrying out simple acts of wearing mask, washing hands and keeping distance.
“What can I say, never in my life I have repeated same thing so many times and watching helplessly majority neither listening nor following. Three minor things can save you from global plague in this Eid -- wearing mask, washing hands and keeping distance with people. If you can’t even do this, happy sacrifice your highness,” said Prof Amjad.
Prof Khalid Mahmood, a senior physician at LRH, warned of surge in the Covid-19 cases if the SOPs were ignored before and during Eid.
“If the authorities can’t screen each and every animal handler, seller and buyer, they should at least make putting on the facemask compulsory for people with penalty in case of non-compliance,” he said.
Prof Khalid said that not only observance of precautions in cattle markets was must but people should also avoid parties and gatherings on Eid. “We must avoid handshake and embracing one another,” he suggested.
Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2020