By Our Correspondent


In addition to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, hospitals in the province are now struggling to tend to an increasing number of patients due to an acute shortage of necessary equipment, space, and medicines. As a result, coronavirus patients are suffering the worst of this healthcare crisis.

Shehzad Rashid, a resident of Peshawar, had sought out treatment from a government hospital when he and 17 others from his family contracted the. However, due to the state of the hospital, Shehzad and his family decided to opt for self-isolation instead.

“Hospitals are extremely burdened,” he said, recalling his experience when he had first approached a public hospital for treatment. “There is not enough space nor beds. There are no ventilators if a critical patient comes in – it’s a situation that’s apparent all over the country.”

Even doctors employed in public hospitals continue to decry a severe lack of beds for COVID-19 patients and ventilators for critical virus cases.

“Our ICUs and isolation units have reached their patient capacity, there are no more beds for incoming coronavirus patients. The government is not ready to listen to our concerns,” he said. “We are fighting on two fronts: on one, we are trying to create awareness among the public to remain at home, and accept that the virus is a very real threat. On the other, we are forced to bear with the consequences of the government’s decision to ease the lockdown.”

On the other hand, Advisor to the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Information and Public Relations, Ajmal Wazir, has stated that there is no shortage of beds nor ventilators in public hospitals across the province. It was stated during a press briefing that the Leading Reading Hospital (LRH) in Peshawar is currently furnished with 1,800 beds and equipped with 63 ventilators of which 25 are reserved for coronavirus patients. 33 beds at the LRH are occupied by coronavirus patients while 20 critical patients are on ventilators. Meanwhile, the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) in Peshawar possesses 1,250 beds and 25 ventilators.

According to a report issued by the Ministry of Health, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has managed to cross 11,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and lost 500 lives till date. As more patients are being turned away due to lack of available beds and shortage of medicines and equipment, violent clashes between the public and hospital administrations are becoming commonplace.