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Sunday May 03 2020

Doctors ask President Alvi for help as risks from coronavirus increase

President Arif Alvi. Photo: File 

Senior doctors and physicians from the top medical bodies in the country have urged President Arif Alvi and the government to initiate an effective awareness campaign through the print and electronic media about preventive measures regarding the pandemic as the risks continue to grow.

Health professionals in a meeting with the president on Saturday said that medical professionals were the most affected segment of the society due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the country.

The delegation comprising Dr SM Qaisar Sajjad, secretary-general of the PMA; Dr Qazi Wasiq, treasurer of the PMA; Dr Sharif Hashmani, president the PMA Karachi; Dr S Tipu Sultan, ex-president of the PMA; Dr Abdul Bari Khan, CEO of The Indus Hospital; Dr Saad Khalid Niaz; Dr Azeemuddin, president of PIMA, Dr Asif Hafeez, Dr Sohail Akhtar, Dr Misbah ul Haq, Dr Shamvil and Dr Zafar Zaidi briefed the president about the risks of the pandemic and how it was affecting the medical community in the country.

Read also: CM Punjab says coronavirus daily testing capacity increased to 6,000

Dr Sajjad apprised the president about the issues being faced by the health professionals and stressed upon the need for an uninterrupted supply of protective gear for healthcare providers.

He also requested the president to announce a compensation package for eight doctors who had died as frontline warriors in the battle against the coronavirus.

Dr Sajjad added that no one has visited the aggrieved families and at this stage doctors needed to be encouraged and given moral support both from public and government. “There should be no deduction from the salaries of the doctors,” he said, urging that the government should allow risk allowance for doctors.

He also requested the president that the government should take immediate measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by forming a uniform policy.

“It is entirely the responsibility of the government to stop the spread of the virus and manage the economic and social problems of the people,” he said.

Read also: PMA requests Shahbaz Gill to take back statement against doctors

The president was also told that there were 250 deaths in the US in the first 65 days, while Pakistan has recorded 367 deaths in the first 65 days, which was an alarming comparison. Dr Sajjad said the government should initiate effective awareness campaign through the electronic media for public guidance to adopt preventative measures to keep themselves safe from the deadly virus.

He also called upon the government to increase the testing capacity because so far only 182,000 people have been tested.

The PMA official added there are probably more positive cases but they have not been tested which makes them a source of the spread.

“Until and unless we test them, they cannot be isolated. These people are at high risk for society. The burden of the disease will increase and thus it will increase the load of patients on health facilities, where health workers are already getting positive. In this situation, there could be a shortage of healthcare providers. We already have a dearth of ventilators," he added.

The doctors also suggested activating a network of community clinics, family physicians and registered general practitioners with proper PPE kits and SOPs. They called for promoting home isolation, where possible, with monitoring and reporting of data by registered general practitioners and community clinics.

Dr Sajjad further said that the healthcare providers did not get the latest information from the government, suggesting the PMA and other stakeholders should also be notified by the government.

Originally published in The News