Health practitioners blast govt’s ‘tardy’ response

Published April 30, 2021
Health practitioners suggested that the government should go for complete lockdown in major cities of Pakistan which were reporting more than eight per cent infectivity rate. — AFP/File
Health practitioners suggested that the government should go for complete lockdown in major cities of Pakistan which were reporting more than eight per cent infectivity rate. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The representatives of various medical and health organisations have blasted the government for delayed response towards third Covid spike and slow vaccination process and suggested it to immediately impose a complete lockdown in the cities reporting the highest infectivity ratio.

The senior office-bearers of the Pakistan Medical Association, the Paramedics Association, the Young Doctors Association Punjab and the Lady Health Workers Association briefed the media on the Covid situation, insufficient healthcare arrangements and government’s inability to handle the third peak of the virus.

They suggested that the government should go for complete lockdown in major cities of Pakistan which were reporting more than eight per cent infectivity rate.

They blamed the government for delayed response to curtail the third peak of the infection saying that it neither imposed lockdown nor did it expedite the vaccination process.

Around 95 per cent of the ventilators of major hospitals of the city had been occupied, they said, adding that the government was not expanding the scope of treatment to save lives of critical patients of the virus.

The health experts warned of massive surge in the number of new positive cases and deaths after Eid and asked the government for immediate remedial measures in the light of the recommendations of health professionals.

Fear massive surge after Eid, accuse private hospitals of fleecing patients

The representatives of the YDA suggested the government to immediately double the production of oxygen to avoid crisis like Indian people are confronting these days.They said the gas production unit at the Pakistan Steels Mill must be activated without wasting more time.

The doctors said the capacity of the hospitals in Puniab is reaching its peak due to influx of Covid patients with multiple complications.

The health professionals also alleged that the government committed criminal negligence in giving improper vaccination coverage to the people.

“The government has failed to vaccinate one per cent of the country’s population,” PMA Lahore president Prof Dr Ashraf Nizami said. He lamented that if the vaccination coverage was not expedited, it would take the government more than five years to achieve the required target.

He alleged that the first wave of the virus began in 2020 due to mishandling at Taftan Border. And now the government is repeating the same blunder by not taking emergent measures to avoid crisis.

At present, there are 880,000 active cases in Pakistan, he said, adding that in order to stop further deaths, the government would have to nationalise all private medical colleges and hospitals. He said after preventive measures, the best remedy would be the maximum treatment facilities for the critical patients of the virus.

Dr Nizami also criticised the Puniab Healthcare Commission for not regulating the private hospitals who are minting money from the Covid patients. He said that presently some private hospitals in Lahore are charging up to Rs200,000 par day from Covid patients and asked the PHC to take notice and regularise these expenses.

Lady Health Workers Association President Rukhsana Anwar declared that the incumbent government had failed to address the key issues of health professionals. She said the Sindh government was dispensing Rs17,000 risk allowance to each staff nurse but this incentive was not being given to the nurses in Puniab.

She further alleged that the hospitals were not providing health professionals masks, protective gear or any other such facility to save themselves from virus.

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2021

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