Current Affairs

Shortage of ventilators, medical equipment put corona patients at risk

TANDO MOHAMMAD KHAN: Shortage of protective gear is now being felt in many public and private hospitals around the province as the number of patients testing positive for the potentially deadly coronavirus continues to increase in Sindh, including medical staff, says Sindh General Secretary Young Doctors Association Dr. Mehboob Ali Noonari.

Sindh government needs to provide equipments, ventilators and PPE to public sector organizations this time rather than facilitating private sector hospitals owned by tycoons in Sindh, but unfortunately government is providing all facilities to their favourites. Even the so called Sindh Health Commission (SHC) is not activate during this emergency situation to cope with pandemic disease, he blamed.

So far, 138 healthcare professionals suffered and doctors are being tested for the virus after developing symptoms, including one death in Sindh. Sindh Healthcare Commission (SHC) is not playing any role in awareness and training program for health care workers during this emergency situation, he said.

Medical staff at various public and private sector hospitals doctors, nurses and even lab technicians, now says they fear for their safety and don’t want to serve in wards where coronavirus patients are lodged.

A Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kit consists of specialised clothing and devices — disposable masks, gowns, hoods, gloves, shoe covers, face shields and protective goggles — and must be worn by healthcare providers dealing with infectious diseases.

Dr. Mehboob said; young doctors and medical staff demanding PPE kits must be educated about infection control and prevention by SHC. The PPE kits they are demanding are often not needed for their regular duties. If all of them are provided the specialised protective equipment, the kits’ supply to doctors who are actually seeing coronavirus patients as well as those with tuberculosis, swine flu and Congo fever will be adversely affected.

Meanwhile, at the Civil Hospital, Karachi, Civil Hospital Hyderabad and other public sector hospitals shortage has yet to be felt, but the staff members are worried about continuation of the kits’ supply.

“So far, surgical and N95 masks and PPE kits are available in Civil Hospital, but there is a shortage in the market and many private facilities are already struggling to get them,” said Dr. Faizan Hussain Memon, YDA representative/Medical Officer Civil Hospital Hyderabad.

“At this point, only the government can ensure the availability of these items since the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing very fast,” he said.

He said, YDA is also observing black day today, against barbaric act of Balochistan government and the lack of provision of PPEs to health workers by the Sindh Government.

They demand, health risk allowance for all medical staff, release of pending salaries of the doctors in Sukkur, the quantity of ventilators should be increase in ICU at public sector hospital, and massive screening of the suspected cases in Sindh province.

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