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Doctors bodies criticize Sindh government

By Mukhtar Alam:

The Karachi-based doctors severely criticized the Sindh government for what described as ignoring medical and technical experts from the public sector health settings in the making and execution of policies to fight COVID-19.
Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on April 17, the leaders from doctors’ community said that the government had no understanding of the corona severity and was taking ad-hoc measures to tackle the challenges posed by coronavirus in the health sector.
The senior office bearers of Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA), the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and the Young Doctors’ Association (YDA) were of the view that there was no openness to governmental initiatives right from supply of corona testing kits and equipment to isolation and intensive care provisions.
The leaders of the doctors community demanded from the Sindh government to involve representatives from public sector universities and hospitals besides the medical organizations engaged in fighting the deadly disease, saying there was no or minimal representation and involvement of technocrats, doctors’ associations at government level.
“We from the PIMA Karachi, the PMA and the YDA are willing to collaborate with government in this critical time,” they offered.
Those who spoke at the press conference included Prof Muhammad Azeemuddin, President PIMA Karachi, Dr Qaiser Sajjad, Secretary General, PMA (central), Dr M Omer Sultan, Chairman YDA Sindh, Dr Atif Hafiz Siddiqui, Dr Pir Manzoor, Prof Misbahul Aziz, and others.
They highlighted some key challenges and issues that may worsen the situation if, according to them, the competent authorities do not take action in time. The public sector hospitals lack personal protecting equipment (PPE) as government was not ready to divert the resources to them, they claimed, adding doctors are contracting infection due to lack of PPEs.
“Indifferent attitude of private hospitals in equipping their employees with necessary PPEs is tantamount to putting healthcare providers at risk,” they regretted.
The speakers also stressed the need for massive screening and testing of doctors and other population at the high risk of the pandemic. “Underutilization of the Field isolation facility at Karachi Expo Centre needs a revisit for optimum usage,“ they suggested.
The doctors demanded strict enforcement of lockdown and prevention of congregations of all sorts to contain the rapid spread of COVID–19.
Coming to the hospitals’ operation, the senior doctors observed that opening of outpatient departments in both public and private sectors without proper SOPs may lead to sudden increase in corona cases.
“Proper sanitization and decontamination of COVID wards in public hospitals was also required by the doctors performing duties,” they added.

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