Peshawar may not have high Covid death rate as projected

Published November 30, 2020
The provincial metropolis, which recorded eight of the total nine deaths in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Sunday, has in fact lesser mortality from Covid-19 than projected in the health department’s daily reports. — AFP/File
The provincial metropolis, which recorded eight of the total nine deaths in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Sunday, has in fact lesser mortality from Covid-19 than projected in the health department’s daily reports. — AFP/File

PESHAWAR: The provincial metropolis, which recorded eight of the total nine deaths in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Sunday, has in fact lesser mortality from Covid-19 than projected in the health department’s daily reports.

“Of 313 new cases in the province Peshawar recorded 174, but less than 30 per cent of these patients are domiciled here and the rest came from other districts and get tested positive for the pandemic,” experts said.

The provincial capital has three medical teaching institutions which cater to 60-70 per cent admissions not only for Covid patients, but also for general illnesses, and as such Peshawar has been shown as the hardest-hit district of the province.

Nine more die of virus in KP

According to a WHO’s report, Peshawar has 11.1 per cent positivity of Covid-19 swabs and is placed fifth countrywide, but experts said all the patients who died and were tested here, didn’t necessarily reside here. They said over 70 per cent of them were brought here from other districts because of the level of trust in the hospitals located in Peshawar.

The city accounted for 650 mortalities of total 1,368 recorded in the province since onset of the virus, which sends a message across that Peshawar is the epicentre of the disease, which isn’t true, they said.

Likewise, the capital district has 17,771 Covid-19 cases of the total provincial score of 47,190 which again is not correct because over 70 per cent of the positive patients diagnosed in Peshawar belonged to other districts.

Physicians at the hospitals say that most patients are brought to Peshawar despite presence of facilities and specialists in their own districts because of lack of trust. “Even for ENT, eye, general surgeries, etc. the people prefer to avail of treatment in Peshawar. The government has been trying to put in place a proper referral system, but people continue to swarm Peshawar hospitals for diseases which can be treated in their home districts,” they said.

The same is true for Swat district where 104 people have died from the pandemic so far.

“All the deaths occurred in Swat were not local inhabitants, but they were admitted there because it has good hospitals compared to other districts of Malakand division,” they said.

Physicians said that Abbottabad has reported 100 deaths, but it was wrong to bracket all of the deceased persons as permanent local dwellers, but people from the nearby districts were treated in Abbottabad Medical Complex, the main tertiary care hospital of Hazara division.

Health officials said they had a complete data about the cases of deaths, but hadn’t worked to find out the original districts of those who breathed their last due to Covid. As a matter of fact, the deaths are counted in the district where they get admitted and die. Similarly, the people who are tested positive in a district are counted in the same district, they said.

This shows that Peshawar, Abbottabad and Swat aren’t most infected districts as shown in the daily reports, but the disease is widespread and most of the people belonging to any of the 36 districts of the province, visit the main hospitals and are listed in the deaths and local case reports.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2020

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