June 11, 2020

By Shaukat Korai from Karachi

The surge in Sindh’s coronavirus cases has put citizens in peril as private hospitals across the province run out of dedicated COVID-19 beds. Healthcare experts in Sindh have termed the pandemic situation alarming, citing incidents where patients unable to find a bed have been thrown into despair.

Assistant Director of Karachi’s Jinnah Hospital Dr. Yahya Tunio informed Voicepk.net that the unit’s 44 designated beds for virus patients are occupied, however, there are plans to increase the hospital’s capacity in the coming week.

On the other hand, Advisor to the Chief Minister of Sindh on information, and spokesperson for the provincial government, Murtaza Wahab, stated that most people in prefer treatment for various illnesses in private health facilities, which also held true during the pandemic. This is one reason why beds have run out so quickly in private health units.

According to the Sindh health department, state-run hospitals have only hit a fraction of their COVID-19 capacity – per official data, 23 hospitals across the province are equipped to take in and treat coronavirus patients. Currently there at 226 ventilator-equipped beds in intensive care units (ICUs) among which 74 beds are still unoccupied. 67 non-ventilator beds in addition to 113 high dependency units (HDUs) are available. Sindh has a total of 1191 insulated beds of which only 180 are occupied.

Murtaza Wahab blamed the federal government for issuing confusing guidelines and statements because of which there has been a boom in cases.

Dr. Sajid Qaiser, General Secretary of the Pakistan Medical Association, has stated that the situation has deteriorated due to a combination of the federal government’s deficient stratagems and constantly changing guidelines, and the verdict issued by the Supreme Court.

He also added that over 2,000 doctors and paramedical staff have been affected by the virus.