COVID-19: Pakistan’s health system under pressure as another doctor dies

Concerns of contracting coronavirus growing among Pakistani health workers as Karachi doctor dies due to shortage of ventilator

Another Pakistani doctor, Dr. Farhan ul Haq, lost his life in Karachi due to the unavailability of ventilators despite going to several hospitals. He was the third doctor in the country’s financial capital to have died from coronavirus.

According to the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Secretary-General Dr. Qaiser Sajjad, Dr. Farhan tested positive for COVID-19 four days back and went into self-isolation. However, he had heart issues and developed breathing difficulties on Saturday and required medical attention. His wife has also tested positive for coronavirus. The deceased had recently retired from the Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases.

Dr. Qaiser also expressed his concerns about the availability of facilities and wondered how a common man would cope with the current situation. “If a doctor in the country’s biggest city cannot be given a ventilator, then what will happen to common citizens,” he asked.

Media Coordinator to the Health and Population Welfare Minister Meeran Yousuf said that ventilators were available at the CHK and JPMC, and an inquiry will be carried out into the matter.

At least 191 medical professionals tested positive for coronavirus in a period of one week, according to the latest data shared by the National Emergency Operation Centre. The increase showed a 75% spike from the previous week, taking the total cases to 451. The majority of those who tested positive were working in wards other than the critical care units, it was noted.

A fifth of the medical professionals affected by the virus have recovered, though nine have succumbed to it. Punjab and Sind appear to have been affected the most in terms of cases of medical staff catching the virus.

The medical staff remains at serious risk due to lack of availability of personal protective equipment, or PPE. Doctors in various parts of the country have held token protests to emphasize on the need of this potentially lifesaving equipment.

Nearly 20,000 cases of coronavirus and 462 deaths have been reported in Pakistan as of May 4. For latest statistics check the official website.

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