Safety of healthcare professionals

June 8, 2020

The tally of healthcare professionals infected by novel coronavirus in Pakistan has crossed above 3000, according to a report sent to the Ministry of National Health. A report prepared by the National Institute of Health (NIH), dispatched to the ministry, said that 3088 healthcare workers have been infected by COVID-19 so far. According to details, the number of doctors infected by coronavirus in Pakistan has increased to 1815, while 412 nurses also contracted coronavirus. Moreover, 861 paramedics have been infected by the virus, report said. Around 1703 infected healthcare workers have been quarantined at homes. “The tally of coronavirus positive health professionals admitted at hospitals is 255 and 251 of them have been in better condition”, according to the report. Among infected health workers 1101 have recuperated, while 29 of them have died of the virus infection, the report said.

In Sindh 11 healthcare professionals have died, while the number of deaths in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is seven, five in Balochistan, two in Gilgit-Baltistan, three in Punjab and one in Islamabad, the report further said. The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) had earlier demanded from the federal and provincial governments to announce compensation for those healthcare providers who had lost their lives and those who had infected with the virus.

Since most if not all countries have overcome this problem, and we have not, this news should jolt the government into action. They army would never send its soldiers to the front lines of any battle without necessary arms and ammunition because it would simply be a self-defeating exercise. The only thing to be accomplished would be assured destruction of one’s own force. Regrettably, that is precisely what will happen every time doctors are made to treat Covid-19 patients without the necessary protective equipment. Only this case is even worse because unlike the soldier infected doctors will go home to give their families the same disease and the prospect of an agonising death. It seems unfortunate episodes of doctors coming out on the streets and even staging hunger strikes did not make the government realise the gravity of the situation.

Surely everybody has noticed that of late the percentage rise in daily infections and deaths has gone up rather sharply in Pakistan. One would have hoped that doctors and hospitals were already bolstered in the best way possible by now. The government must put everything else aside till this matter is settled. The whole thing would unravel if hospitals start running out of doctors just because the entire official machinery is unable to erect a supply chain that can ensure the required supply of all necessary protective equipment; just like everywhere else in the world. All things considered, the government would do well to remember the old adage that if you are unable to make things any better, for whatever reason, make sure you do not at least make things worse.

The only thing to be accomplished would be assured destruction of one’s own force. Regrettably, that is precisely what will happen every time doctors are made to treat Covid-19 patients without the necessary protective equipment. Only this case is even worse because unlike the soldier infected doctors will go home to give their families the same disease and the prospect of an agonising death.

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