Sindh govt to reopen HDUs at Expo Centre, other hospitals amid rising Covid cases

Published November 19, 2020
In this file photo, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail visits the field hospital at the Expo Centre in Karachi. — Dawn/File
In this file photo, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail visits the field hospital at the Expo Centre in Karachi. — Dawn/File

KARACHI: Amid growing number of Covid-19 cases, the Sindh government has decided to revive its high dependency units (HDUs) across Karachi, including the Expo Centre’s field isolation facility which was shut down in September, as part of a plan to meet the challenge of the second wave of the pandemic, officials and sources said on Wednesday.

The authorities took this decision in a series of meetings held recently to review the current situation of coronavirus and rising number of positive cases.

They decided to revive the HDU facilities at many government hospitals including the one at the Expo Centre and at least three public sector hospitals, which were upgraded following the increase in Covid-19 patients during the first wave of the pandemic.

The decision to revive the isolation facility at Expo Centre will be taken later

“The 240-bed HDU was established at the Expo Centre isolation facility for coronavirus patients and inaugurated by the chief minister in June 2020,” said an official citing details of the recent plan. “The number of beds at the HDU facility of the centre was increased gradually. The 1,200-bed Expo Centre field isolation facility was inaugurated in April 2 but only a fraction of the centre could be utilised owing to lower number of Covid-19 patients in the city requiring isolation at such a dedicated makeshift facility. That’s’ why the government this time has decided to revive initially only its HDU section.”

Indus Hospital to help operate HDU

He said that the revival of the new HDU at the Expo Centre would help reduce pressure on other city hospitals, adding highly trained health workers would be there, while the Indus Hospital would also help to operate the unit.

He said that the Sindh government during the first wave of the pandemic had established intensive care units (ICUs) with 453 beds and HDUs with 1,553 beds for critically ill Covid-19 patients across the province with most in Karachi.

With nearly 11,000 active cases and close to 3,000 deaths due to Covid-19 across the province, the government claims to have sped up its efforts to tackle the situation.

The provincial health authorities are reviewing plans for capacity building of two major health centres set up amid rise in cases of Covid-19 during the first wave of the pandemic.

“The Sindh Infectious Diseases Hospital & Research Centre at NIPA and an infectious disease hospital (IDH), which is in fact the Dow University Dental Hospital and was converted into the infectious disease hospital by the Sindh government opposite University of Karachi, have also been marked as new centres for increasing HDU capacity,” said the official.

“These hospitals will be of great help to treat Covid-19 patients, even if any of them need only oxygen support or ventilators. The X-ray/radiology department facility would also help save the lives of serious patients by diagnosing their chest complication. The Sindh government has already managed to establish separate healthcare facilities for coronavirus patients in Karachi and it will soon be expanding it to every divisional headquarters,” he said.

When asked about any possibility of a complete revival of the Karachi Expo Centre’s field isolation facility, he said it would depend on the number of cases.

“The centre had launched its services for three categories of patients. First, those shifted from home because of their symptoms after being tested positive for Covid-19. Second, those who needed to be isolated and the third were the patients who needed HDUs due to complications,” he added.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2020

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