The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has requested Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to shift Covid-19 patients kept in home isolation to government isolation centres to forestall them from becoming carriers of the virus, while also soliciting for benefits for medical staff almost like those announced in Punjab.

A PMA delegation met the CM on Saturday, asking him to not transfer coronavirus patients to the isolation centres established at tertiary care hospitals, citing that there was a risk that they might infect the staff and other patients there.

Moreover, they requested Shah to announce risk allowances and pay raises for the doctors, paramedics and other staff serving on the frontlines. “We demanded that he provide benefits almost like those announced by the Punjab government for its doctors,” a doctor told The Youth International.
The PMA members further stated that the provincial government should declare the doctors who have lost their lives within the war against the pandemic as ‘Shaheed,’ because the Punjab government was doing.

Moreover, the delegation also appealed to the CM to produce every doctor with safety kits, whether or not they were performing at public hospitals or handling patients in their private clinics.

Speaking to The Youth International, PMA’s Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, who was a part of the delegation, said that almost all of the doctors posted at isolation centres and hospitals that had fallen sick were young. “These doctors have just started their careers, they were risking their lives and that they need the government’s support,” he said

Another doctor who attended the meeting explained that there have been nearly 45,000 doctors within the province and acknowledged that providing kits to any or all the practitioners would be a challenge for the govt. “We don’t ask the govt to produce free safety kits to the doctors,” he said. “But the govt should make sure the availability of kits that the doctors can easily purchase and use them for his or her safety.”

According to one in all the doctors, the CM failed to say whether his government would act on these requests.

Taking measures

During the meeting, the delegation also suggested to Shah and Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho to ascertain laboratories at the district level, while refraining from shifting patients to Karachi from other districts, claiming that this might put the patients’ lives in danger.

The CM apprised the meeting that he was establishing isolation centres and field hospitals everywhere Sindh, adding that they were utilising newly-constructed buildings belonging to the health and Education Department for quarantining people. Moreover, he said, they were reaching to founded marquees on open grounds as isolation centres.

Shah further informed the doctors that there have been four categories of COVID-19 patients: people who came by air, pilgrims from Iran, members of the Tableeghi Jamaat and people who had contracted the virus through the local transmission.

“We succeeded in isolating pilgrims at Sukkur and Tableeghi Jamaat members in numerous districts,” he said. “But the people that came by air went unchecked and infected others, and now we face a pandemic in slums and katchi abadis.”

Shah told the PMA members that he had wanted the govt to impose a country-wide lockdown from March 15, but had did not bring the federal and other provincial governments on the identical page. As a result, he maintained, the lockdown was delayed.