KARACHI: The Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA), Young Doctors Association, and Pakistan Pediatric Association (PPA) Sindh demanded the launch of a comprehensive crackdown against social media websites and social media for posts misrepresenting public and healthcare workers.
They urged the concerned authorities to launch a timely and effectively crackdown against the misleading propaganda circulating on social media. They suggested blocking all websites and social media posts that are misleading the public and harassing healthcare workers. They said such posts consequently are causing mental and physical abuse. Additionally, all those involved in spreading negative and misleading propaganda should be severely punished regardless of their class, group, or institution.
The press conference was jointly addressed by Prof Misbahul Aziz, former President, PIMA Pakistan, Prof Sohail Akhter, former President, PIMA Pakistan, Dr Umer Sultan, Chairman, YDA Sindh, Dr Khalid Shafi, GS, PPA Sindh, Prof Jalal Akbar, President, Elect PPA Sindh, Dr Fayyaz Alam, General Secretary, Dua Foundation, Dr Azra Jamil, PIMA Female, Prof M Shuja Farrukh, President, PSORL Sindh Chapter, Dr M Kashif Shazlee, Radiology Society of Pakistan, and others.
Speakers are deeply concerned about the growing number of coronavirus patients across the country. At present, the number of patients in Pakistan has soared above 85,000, and the number of deaths has reached 1,650, while on the first of Ramadan, the number was 12,500, and the number of deaths was 269.
They said existing health facilities in Pakistan are certainly inadequate to cope with the coronavirus’s alarmingly rapid spread. Since the government has already decided to ease the lockdown and open the markets, it is all the more necessary for the government to not only to increase healthcare facilities on an emergency basis but also to formulate a coherent and systematic strategy for the short-term training of technical staff to operate those effectively.
Regarding the current situation, they demanded the federal and provincial governments to immediately declare and implement a medical emergency in Sindh, ensure strict implementation of the SOPs by people in public places, make wearing mask mandatory for everyone, and ensure the safety and security of hospital premises and staff including, doctors, nurses, and paramedics.
The speakers demanded the availability of beds with the best health facilities for COVID affected healthcare professionals, as there is no dedicated facility available for them yet. This needs to be increased on a war footing, ensuring that PGs and residents get bonuses equal to government employees by the relevant universities and authorities. Additionally, a dashboard noting the availability of beds and ventilators should be made as nothing has been done so far despite pledges made by the Sindh government.
They demanded that talks are arranged officially on electronic media to forcefully debunk myths and conspiracy theories revolving around COVID-19. They also asked to ensure an uninterrupted supply of PPEs to medical personnel at every level. Doctors still face a lot of challenges in accessing protective equipment.
In collaboration with the Dua foundation and the YDA, the PIMA is doing its best to make these available. PPEs worth 10 million PKR have been distributed so far. The government must immediately plan to make a dedicated hospital to cater to the increasing number of patients and in anticipation of the second wave of COVID 19 patients, as done in other countries.
They suggested that the government utilize the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH) for this purpose and tell the exact status of the announced NIPA hospital and constitute a committee to conduct an impartial investigation of the Gadap Isolation Center failure.