PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to shift the equipment provided to Institute of Hepatology and Peshawar Institute of Cardiology for Covid-19 patients to the district headquarters hospitals after rapid decline in the pandemic.

The government on July 10 inaugurated 58-bed Covid-19 ward at Institute of Hepatology (IoH) in collaboration with a non-governmental organisation to deal with the rising number of patients after Eidul Fitr.

The facility, originally built for hepatitis, was completed one and half years ago but couldn’t be made functional to serve its basic purpose, officials said.

However, the Covid-19 proved a blessing in disguise and IoH was designated as Covid-19 facility after the hospitals were overburdened with serious patients in June.

Govt makes the decision after decline in Covid-19 cases

The government on emergency basis provided beds and staff to it to start admitting seriously-ill patients.

However, number of patients has declined and now the health department is waiting till end of September to see the flow of infected people.

“If the situation improves further, we would ask IoH to start its original operations and return the equipment provided to it during the pandemic to the health department for supplying the same to district headquarters hospitals,” senior officials said told this scribe.

They said that the institute had presently three specialists, 16 medical officers, 37 technicians and 50 supporting staffers but there was no patient. Bed occupancy of Covid-19 has been decreased in medical teaching institutions.

A report of World Health Organisation on Monday said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa notified 35,766 cases since the beginning of the outbreak with 1,248 deaths. Eighty patients are currently hospitalised and15 of them are on ventilators. A total of 33,403 have recovered. KP has 93 per cent recovery rate, the highest in any province.

“The number of patients has come down by 50 per cent over the past fortnight and cases and deaths have declined but the authorities are still waiting for a month to do away with the Covid-19 status of IoH,” said officials.

They said that there were 50 ICU beds in the institute which could be supplied to DHQs to update intensive care at the district level.

They said that government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IoH and Peshawar Institute of Cardiology (PIC) at the time of designating them for Covid-19 patients that the health department would use their buildings and they would retain the equipment they needed while they would give back other machines to the department when Covid-19 was over.

The PIC has 250 beds along with 40 ventilators. It has already started recruitment of human resources and purchase of equipment to be able to launch its real function of dealing with cardiology patients within the next two months.

“We are waiting for resumption of educational activities by mid-September. All other sectors have already been opened and if downtrend of coronavirus remains at the present pace, there will be no case and the government can ask IoH and PIC to wind up Covid-19 functions and begin its own primary functions for which they were built,” said officials.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2020