CHITRAL: The residents of Chitral have demanded of the government to strengthen the district headquarters hospital to handle Covid-19 cases keeping in view the restrictions of mobility to the down country during the coming tough and extended winter season.

MNA Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, former MPA Syed Sardar Hussain Shah and others said that the hospital catered to the needs of both Lower and Upper Chitral and the pandemic was declared to be highly pervasive in both the districts due to the increasing number of Covid-19 patients.

They said that Chitral had a peculiar geography and could be disconnected from other parts of the province during the winter season anytime when Lowari Pass received snowfall as a result of which the approach road to the tunnel was blocked to traffic.

They feared an emergency like situation if the road was blocked and large number of patients was referred to tertiary healthcare facilities in Peshawar due to the poor condition of the only hospital in Chitral.

They stressed the need of establishing a high dependency unit (HDU) in the hospital concentrated by the allied facilities including provision of central oxygen plant and putting to function all the four ventilators to treat Covid-19 cases.

The local leaders appreciated the efforts of the hospital employees for dealing with the situation efficiently despite shortage of staff.

They said that 21 posts of district specialists, six posts of principal medical officers, 18 posts of senior medical officers and13 posts of medical officers besides that of senior technicians were vacant.

They said that 27 beds in the isolation ward for the Covid-19 patients in the hospital had 100 per cent occupancy rate and it was unfair to keep such small number of beds for a population of half-a-million of the two districts where positivity rate of coronavirus had crossed eight per cent.

They said that without provision of HDU in the hospital, the situation of the pandemic would go out of control during winter.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2020

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