KARACHI/ HYDERABAD - Minister for Health, Sindh Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho on Saturday announced the demise of another individual after testing positive for coronavirus.

The patient had tested positive for coronavirus on April 3, the provincial tally of coronavirus related deaths now stands at 14.

Pechuho also said that the number of confirmed coronavirus patients has reached to 830 in the province.

The health minister said that a total of 830 coronavirus patients were reported across Sindh province so far out of which 65 have been discharged after getting their health back.

Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said about 7,992 tests had been performed in Sindh so far out of 830 were tested positive.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan rose to 2,708 earlier in the day after new infections were confirmed in the country, ARY News reported.

The national dashboard, maintained by the federal ministry of health says that the death toll has increased to a total of 40 while 13 patients are in critical condition.

The latest statistics of the national dashboard say that 130 patients have recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic thus far.

Meanwhile, the first case of Covid-19 reported in district Badin a day ago, who died on the way because of technical staff was not available to operate the eleven (11) available ventilators in the Indus Hospital, Badin, it was a big tragedy happening in the interior Sindh, where Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah had tall claims of having all facilities available to cope the emergency situation.

A tweet by Baririster Hasnain Mirza, Member Sindh Provincial Assembly also confirmed the news of death caused by lack of technical staff that could not operate the Ventilators.

The number of Covid-19 cases in Sindh 830, and is growing at such a rapid pace, it has been noticed that many public and private hospitals have not enough ventilators available for the patients that need them, some of the district even don’t have single ventilator to cope with the situation, TheNation learnt.

The data shared by doctors from different hospitals shows the number of ventilators available in Tando Mohammad Khan district six, Thatta 2, Sujawal nil, Badin 11, Mirpurkhas nil, Sukkur 8, Larkana 5.

Ventilators are one of the most important tools in hospitals for keeping Covid-19 patients in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The key factor in mitigating strategy and effort of any government will be to improve hospital capacity, and within such facilities two aspects are crucial – the number of beds available for patients who come with coronavirus complications and ventilators, which accompany those beds in Intensive Care Units (ICUs).

Statistics shared by a health sector expert with TheNation reflects that public sectors of Sindh had around 484 ventilators out of which only 353 were functional, 53 out of order, 43 yet to be installed. Surprisingly, most of the hospital have ventilators functional but due to shortage of technical staff it could not be operated.

An official said the Sindh Health Department had done a stocktaking of ventilators in the private sector in Karachi and other major cities of the province. However, the private hospitals have not more than 500 such machines.

The health sector expert said in the light of these facts, on 26th March, Sindh Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah had ordered to purchase 5000 more ventilators to deal with a health emergency, but in the first phase, he was approving the purchase of 290 ventilators which would be installed at different public health facilities in the province.

A key limiting factor to provide good care, experts say, is the number of ventilation machines; a hospital should have on hand to help the most serious patients.

Dr Ghulam Murtaza Babar, Assistant Consultant ICU in Saudi Arabia, explains the coronavirus like many respiratory viruses can cause inflammation in the lungs. When the lungs become inflamed, the membranes that transfer oxygen from the air into the blood become blocked.

When patients develop this type of viral pneumonia, they often require bedside ventilators, which can supply higher levels of oxygen, help push air into the lungs to open them up, and afford more opportunity to get oxygen into the patient, he said.

Ventilators are generally a temporary bridge to recovery of patients in critical care, who need them to get better. These machines can be crucial to sustaining life in certain emergency situations. If there is a surge in seriously patients as COVID-19 spreads, ventilators could be in short supply from hospital to hospital.

The public health expert said if hospitals continue to be overwhelmed, at that point tough decisions would have to be made about who gets access to a ventilator and who does not.

 

This could be left to the health professionals to choose who has chances to live and who is to be left. Experts say this scary scenario can only be avoided if prevention and containment protocols are immaculately followed.