ISLAMABAD: While the government touts the weekly provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) to more than 450 hospitals across the country, State Minister for Health Dr Zafar Mirza on Saturday acknowledged the shortage of safety gear in the hospitals.
In a media talk here, the minister said: “There are complaints that the PPEs are not of good quality or not provided. We have assessed and one of the problems is that hospitals are not assessing and distributing the resources given to them by the government.”
The PM’s aide observed that the “irrational” use of the resources could be another reason behind the shortage.
“A hospital told me they weren’t receiving PPEs, especially N-95 masks. However, when I came out of the meeting, a security guard was wearing N-95 mask,” he said.
Pakistan’s death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic has risen to 1,954 as more than 90 fatalities were reported for the second straight day. The country recorded 86 deaths on Friday and 97 deaths have been reported during the last 24 hours, according to the national database.
According to the countrywide breakdown, Punjab tops the chart with 659 deaths, followed closely behind by Sindh with 634 reported casualties. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has so far announced 541 deaths and sits at the bottom of the list of state units with casualties in triple digits. Balochistan and Islamabad have announced 54 and 45 deaths, respectively. In Gilgit-Baltistan, which anticipates a general poll in September this year, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir respectively, 13 and 8 patients succumbed to the disease.
Dr Mirza also announced that the WeCare initiative is starting a mental health programme for doctors working on the front lines.
The federal government had announced the launch of the initiative in May for the protection of the healthcare workers. At the time, Dr Mirza had said that the system aimed at bringing all medical workforce on the same page for using PPEs, link PPE utilisation with supply, and bridge gaps between hospital administrations and the government.
“We need to give moral, psychological, psycho-social support to doctors. It is a dangerous responsibility,” he noticed.
“It has been proven globally that doctors working with patients in critical care have more chances of contracting infection than others. Therefore, it is important to give them moral support, too assure their families that someone is standing with them.”
“Then there is anxiety especially when you see your colleagues getting infected and some of them have died. However, the rate of infected healthcare workers in Pakistan is much less compared to other countries, not more than 3 percent are affected here.”
“Under WeCare, we are starting a mental health support programme for doctors today. It will start with [Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences] PIMS and ICT [Islamabad Capital Administration] doctors. A helpline has already been established.”