PESHAWAR: Over a dozen health professionals, including nine doctors and seven nurses, have been impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, an official of the Provincial Doctors Association, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said Monday.
Speaking to Geo News, the KP medic body’s president, Dr Fazal Manan, said the coronavirus had infected nine doctors and seven nurses. Five doctors and four professor-doctors were separately quarantined, he added, whereas eight were performing their duties at public hospitals and one at a private facility.
The health professionals have been provided protective gear in a limited manner, Dr Manan added, noting that doctors were using N-95 masks for weeks.
Doctors assigned to separate wards of hospitals have also been given protective gear; however, those working in the out-patient department (OPD) were not, he mentioned.
While the government has said it was making all efforts to ensure the availability of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for paramedics, doctors across the country have complained of a shortage of protective gear as the number of cases surpassed 5,400.
So far, two doctors have died after contracting the deadly virus while treating the COVID-19 patients, with many more affected due to shortage of protective gear. Earlier this month, medics in Balochistan had gone on a strike against the shortage of PPEs and resumed work after assurances from the authorities.
‘Health system would collapse’ if govt doesn’t provide PPEs: PMA secretary general
A day prior, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Secretary-General Dr Qaiser Sajjad had told Geo News that the government needed to ensure proper protective gear was given to those dealing with coronavirus patients, warning that the country’s “health system would collapse” if the government did not make good on its promises.
“This is a serious issue if the doctors aren’t protected,” Dr Sajjad had said. “The government keeps saying it will only provide protective gear to those working in the intensive care unit. If steps to protect the doctors aren’t taken, they will sit at home.
“More than 50 doctors have contracted the virus and this is only about the ones we know,” he added.
On Sunday, Multan had reported its highest daily rise in the coronavirus cases as over dozen medics had tested positive for COVID-19 and were admitted to the Nishtar Medical Hospital, sources had informed Geo News.
At least 55 people, including 12 doctors and six nurses at the same facility, were admitted to the hospital. These included 18 women as well — the largest number reported so far since the virus outbreak in south Punjab.
Most of the cases were young people, 45 of them either 36 years old or younger.