PESHAWAR: The Provincial Doctors Association has expressed concern over increasing deaths of doctors due to Covid-19 and demanded Shuhada package for heirs of all the 62 health professionals, including 39 doctors, who laid their lives while saving other patients.

As the province’s death toll from coronavirus reached 1,638 with 11 new fatalities and 58,379 incidences with 397 fresh cases on Wednesday, PDA said that Dr Hola, a senior radiologist, died of Covid-19 on Tuesday and her husband Prof Dr Syed Iqrar Hussain Zaidi on Dec 4.

In a letter to KP secretary health, PDA chairman Dr Amir Taj Khan said the provincial cabinet on April 30 had approved Shuhada package for the families of martyred doctors which hadn’t been implemented so far.

PDA chairman Dr Zubair Zahir said that doctors, paramedics, nurses, class-IV staff and other employees who breathed their last when they contracted Covid-19 at the hospitals were the bread-earners of their families and Shuhada package would be a tribute to them.

Pandemic claims 11 lives as 397 fresh cases recorded in KP

A report prepared by the National Emergency Centre, Islamabad, said that 111 healthcare providers had died since start of the pandemic in the country. A total of 12,434 infections have been reported in healthcare providers which account for three per cent of the total national incidence.

The infected people included 60 per cent doctors, 26 per cent paramedics and 14 per cent nurses.

Of them, 94 per cent (11,743) have recovered, said the report.

Dr Zubair said that 20 doctors had died during Covid-19’s spell from January till October, but the second wave starting from November 1 had taken lives of 19 doctors. He said these figures showed how the coronavirus virus had endangered lives of doctors who were without proper personal protective equipments (PPEs) to stay safe from the virus. Families and children of the deceased doctors faced hardships in pursuing their education and meeting daily needs and required government’s assistance, he said.

Even the close relatives of Prof Mohammad Javid, who was one of the first senior level doctors in Pakistan to die of Covid-19 in Hayatabad Medical Complex in April, have not received any assistance announced by the government.

Dr Zubair said there was disappointment among doctors as they faced pressure from families to take leave and stay away from hospitals during the pandemic, but they remained committed to their profession and had proved their skills.

He said even the doctors had come up with innovative methods to facilitate the patients and make the people adhere to the standard operating procedures through introduction of telemedicine services during which patients were prescribed medicines through phones.

PDA, he said, hadn’t observed any strike during the course of the Covid-19. He said the government should acknowledge the services of their fallen colleagues by helping their families and encourage the medics who were busy with patients in the second wave.

The PDA, he said, had sent a list of doctors who died of Covid-19 to the KP secretary health and asked him to get similar details from representatives of nurses, paramedics, class-IV and other related workers for inclusion in Shuhada package.

“We request the health department to approach the finance department for approval of the Shuhada package for all the deceased healthcare frontline workers,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2020

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