While the government has stopped buses from plying on the roads, this has put extra pressure on Qingqi rickshaws, resulting in violation of social distancing rules.—Fahim Siddiqi/White Star
While the government has stopped buses from plying on the roads, this has put extra pressure on Qingqi rickshaws, resulting in violation of social distancing rules.—Fahim Siddiqi/White Star

KARACHI: While the Covid-19 situation in the city continues to pose a serious threat to the health infrastructure, with sustained pressure on certain government health facilities being the ‘first choice’ of patients, several other facilities remain under-utilised, it emerged on Tuesday.

The Aug 2 data of the health department showed that the Sindh Infectious Disease Hospital and Research Centre — the entire facility is dedicated to Covid-19 patients — had no space left for patient admission in the ICU with only one bed vacant in its high dependency unit (HDU).

The Expo Centre facility had no space left in its 100-bed HDU, but had capacity to admit 13 patients to the ICU. The Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) main building had space left for seven patients in the ICU and 12 beds vacant in its HDU.

The JPMC chest unit had no space in its ICU while it had the capacity to admit 29 patients more in its 60-bed HDU.

‘Sindh govt to activate more mobile units for vaccination’

The Dow International Dental and Medical College had no space in its ICU while it had space for six patients more in its 41-bed HDU.

The Lyari General Hospital had space left for seven and 76 patients in its 47-bed ICU and 155-bed HDU, respectively.

The Indus Hospital had no space left in its ICU and 11-bed HDU dedicated to Covid-19 patients.

The 18-bed ICU and six-bed HDU dedicated to Covid-19 patients at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation were all occupied.

The total number of beds vacant in ICUs and HDUs in the city was 209 and 534, respectively.

However, the data also showed that healthcare facilities, including Services Hospital, Sindh Government Hospital Liaquatabad, Sindh Government Hospital New Karachi, Sindh Government Hospital Korangi No 5, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Trauma Centre, Social Security Hospital in Landhi and Kulsoom Bai Valika Hospital in the SITE area were either under-utilised or had not been utilised at all.

“It’s mainly due to people’s preference that there is more burden on certain public-sector health facilities. The Covid-19 situation has been the same for at least three weeks with a difference of around 100 in patient admission,” said a health department official, adding that all government-run hospitals dedicated to coronavirus patients had been upgraded and provided with all relevant treatment facilities.

A sign outside the Khaliqdina Hall on Tuesday tells people that the centre has run out of SinoVac vaccines.—Fahim Siddiqi/White Star
A sign outside the Khaliqdina Hall on Tuesday tells people that the centre has run out of SinoVac vaccines.—Fahim Siddiqi/White Star

In the private sector, hospitals such as the Ojha campus of Dow University Hospital, Liaquat National Hospital and Aga Khan University Hospital had no space in their ICUs and HDUs designated for Covid-19 patients.

More mobile units for vaccination

Sindh government spokesperson Barrister Murtaza Wahab said that more vaccination centres would be set up with the activation of mobile units, adds APP. He stated this while speaking at a press conference here on Tuesday.

For the purpose, he said, the government had invited mobile units from other districts of Sindh to Karachi. There was a lot of rush at the vaccination centres which was causing distress to the people and that was why “we must follow the SOPs”.

In the last few days, the media-assisted public awareness campaign had a positive impact, he said, adding that in one day, 222,000 people had been vaccinated in Sindh. And 11 vaccination centres had been activated round the clock. He said that this would make it easier to control the Indian [Delta] variant.

He said he was grateful to the management of Darul Uloom Korangi for setting up a vaccination camp and now ulema and students were getting vaccinated there. “We will achieve our target of 250,000 daily vaccinations,” he added.

“The Delta variant is growing all over the country. Federal Minister Asad Umar said that we are going to be strict. We have to work together in this difficult time and stop the spread of the Delta variant and we have to convince the citizens and we all have to do it in consultation,” he said.

“Medical experts are constantly guiding us. Only by following the government guidelines will we be able to stop the spread of this epidemic and as in the past we will move towards reopening business,” said Mr Wahab.

“Political leaders must show responsibility because there is a difference between the economy and human life. If life lasts, we will be able to promote tourism,” he said, recounting that “we asked for coronavirus testing to be mandatory for those coming from abroad.

“If we wear masks today, we won’t have to wear oxygen masks tomorrow,” he remarked.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2021

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