KARACHI: Amid growing number of coronavirus cases emerging in Karachi, pushing up the infection rate to above 9pc within a week, the Sindh government has in a major move decided to boost up its vaccination campaign across the province with the help of lady health workers (LHWs), who would inoculate people in a door-to-door visits — the first drive of its kind in the country —, officials and sources said on Thursday.
The decision to engage the LHWs came after a series of meetings and deliberations by the health department with experts and officials of different government institutions who were handling and supervising the vaccination drive in the province. The government finally decided to reach out every single home without waiting for the people to come out and get themselves vaccinated at the designated centres, they said, adding that they had reasons to take this first initiative of its kind in the province.
“You would have already witnessed that we have experienced a certain blockage in percentage of vaccinated people in the province,” Qasim Soomro, a Sindh Assembly member of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from Tharparkar, who is also a parliamentary secretary and one of the members of the Provincial Vaccine Administration Cell headed by the health secretary, told Dawn.
“We have found that the male members of families are mostly vaccinated because they usually move out of their homes and get the jabs due to certain reasons one way or the other. But the number of women usually is found well behind the desired results. This is one reason to take such initiative [door-to-door vaccination through LHWs]. So we have decided to engage lady health workers across the province. They would go door-to-door and then people, whether men or women, would definitely not have any excuse to avoid the vaccination.”
The ‘first of its kind’ campaign to be launched across the province
Mr Soomro ruled out any discussion within the government about tough measures and Covid-19-related curbs as they were placed during previous waves of the pandemic but called for aggressive vaccination campaign to avoid harsh measures.
Despite recent surge in positive cases of coronavirus, Mr Soomro said that hospitals across the province had not witnessed any saturation-like condition and the government was monitoring the situation very closely to keep its strategy updated in line with the requirements and suggestions of the health experts.
Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has warned that the infection rate of Omicron variant had started increasing in the province, mainly in the urban centres for which people would have to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs); otherwise it would turn alarming.
In a statement issued here from the CM House, Mr Shah said that between Dec 28, 2021 and Jan 2, 2022, a total of 133 tests were conducted, of them 95 were detected as Omicron variant taking the tally to 268 in the province.
He added that a few cases have travel history otherwise most of them were locally transmitted.
“It may be noted that earlier Sindh had 173 Omicron cases and with the emergence of 95 new cases the number has increased to 268,” he said
“It shows that the new variant is spreading fast and needs to be controlled through precautionary measures,” he added.
Giving details of the daily situation report, the CM said that two more patients of coronavirus died overnight lifting the death toll to 7,678 that constituted 1.6 per cent death rate. Mr Shah said that 17,702 samples were tested which detected 759 cases that constituted 4.3 per cent current detection rate. He added that so far 7,214,489 tests had been conducted against which 483,728 cases were diagnosed as positive, of them 96.8 per cent (or 468,467 patients) had recovered, including 105 overnight.
The CM said that currently 7,583 patients were under treatment; 7,386 in home isolation, 48 at isolation centres and 149 at different hospitals. He added that the condition of 142 patients was stated to be critical, including 16 shifted to ventilators.
Murad Ali Shah said that out of 759 new cases, 648 have been detected in Karachi, i.e 240 in South, 237 in East, 100 in Central, 31 in Korangi, 26 in West and 14 in Malir district. Shaheed Benazirabad district has 14, Naushahro Feroze 13, Hyderabad 10, Tharparkar nine, Sujawal seven, Qambar, Tando Allahyar and Shikarpur six each, Larkana and Sukkur five each, Ghotki, Thatta and Jacobabad four each, Tando Muhammad Khan and Umerkot three each, Badin, Matiari, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, and Kandhkot-Kashmore and Jamshoro districts have two cases each.
Sharing vaccination data, the CM said that 29,951,245 vaccines had been administered up to Jan 4, and added that during the last 24 hours, 182,533 people were vaccinated.
Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2022