Peshawar                -               Comorbidity and late arrival of patients in hospitals are two major reasons behind the higher mortality rate of coronavirus in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, health experts suggest.

According to the government statistics available online on Saturday, Punjab has the highest number of cases (10,471) confirmed coronavirus cases. Similarly, the number of cases in KP is 4327, however, KP has reported the highest number of deaths, (221), while Punjab has reported 191 deaths. In Pakistan, the total numbers of confirmed cases are 27,474 and as per the latest official data, it has claimed 618 lives.

Dr Sheheryar, who serves in the ICU of Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, told The Nation that comorbidity in patients and their late arrival at health facilities are two major reasons behind the higher mortality rate in KP.

“When we receive patients at ICU, their condition is already turned critical and the major problem often is that patients not only have coronavirus infection but they also suffer from other illnesses like diabetes, heart ailments, etc,” he added.

However, he said that the even advanced countries like the US have high mortality rate from corona despite the presence of advanced technology there.

He also said that while people quote higher mortality figures of KP, there may be an element of transparency as KP may be reporting exact figures of the deaths, while other provinces may not be reporting it that way correctly.

“At the LRH, we have a 25-bed ICU ready and so far we have not faced any shortage of ICU facilities for patients. LRH has dedicated three ICUs for coronavirus patients only,” he added.

The disease surveillance division of the National Institute of Health, Islamabad, has also released a report, stating that the prevalence of comorbidities among those who have died of the COVID-19 in Pakistan was nine percent higher in KP compared to other provinces.

According to the NIH report, more male Covid-19 patients died in KP than in other provinces as it reported 75 per cent deaths in men between 61 to 70 years of age, 67 per cent higher than in other provinces. It is believed that this age group is getting more infected in KP than in the rest of provinces and the reason might be the culture of social mix-up such as hujra, mosque, funeral, Tableegh, etc.

Also, another factor behind the higher deaths in KP may be people’s reluctance to bring patients to local hospitals as mostly people take patients to Peshawar, the provincial metropolis, from far-flung districts, which aggravates their conditions and leads to complications and deaths.