LAHORE                         -                 Inspired by the success of telemedicine services launched in the province a couple of weeks back, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has announced to start a ‘tele-ration helpline’ from today (Tuesday) to provide food on daily basis to the poor people at their doorsteps.

Addressing at the University of Health Sciences (UHS) after formally launching first national drug trial “Protect Pakistan” and inaugurating antiseptic tunnel on Monday, he said that coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic would not leave soon.

“Along with coronavirus, we have to save the people from hunger as well”, he said adding that three hundred thousand persons would be provided with ration worth Rs.1 billion.

The governor said that large numbers of people were contributing to PM’s Corona Relief Fund and hoped that the number of alms-givers would surpass the alms-seekers. He appreciated the UHS efforts in fight against coronavirus and assured that the results and recommendations originating from this research would be implemented by the Punjab and federal government. He said that Pakistan was the role model for the world with regards to the use of telemedicine services to control the spread of deadly virus.

“I have literally saw it turning into a success-story within a short span of two weeks only – that is something outstanding”, he said while commending the role of vice chancellors of medical universities in establishing the telemedicine centres on such a short notice.

Chaudhry Sarwar informed that seven thousand doctors had registered themselves voluntarily to serve at these telemedicine centres.  King Edward Medical University (KEMU) VC Prof Khalid Masood Gondal said that in view of its popularity and need, permanent department of telemedicine would be established in all medical universities of the province.

UHS VC Prof Javed Akram claimed that “Protect Pakistan” was so far the biggest drug trial on coronavirus that was being conducted on 550 patients throughout the country. He further said that UHS was also carrying out a study on the genotype of coronavirus to find out recurring mutations in the virus. He said the governor had directed UHS and KEMU to launch joint-degree programme in health informatics. He further said that the varsity had become capable of preparing around nine thousand personal protection equipment (PPE) per day for health workers fighting against Covid-19 as it had been able to get donations of more than rupees 10 million so far.

UHS pharmacology department’s head and co-researcher of “Protect Pakistan” drug trial, Prof Muhammad Shahzad informed that Punjab would be a randomized controlled trial in which three drugs-hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and oseltamivir- would be used separately as well in combinations to treat covid-19 patients. The study would be completed in two weeks, he said.