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Punjab Doctor Says Govt Lying About Number Of Ventilators

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Head of the young doctors’ group Grand Health Alliance (GHA) Dr Salman Haseeb said that the government was failing badly in providing support to health professionals who are on the forefront of the country’s fight against COVID-19.

He expressed these views in an interview with Naya Daur.

He said that up to 30 percent of health professionals had already contracted the virus. Others continue to be exposed to a hazardous environment without having adequate personal protection equipment, he said.

Moreover, he conveyed doctors, nurses and paramedics’ fear due to lack of ventilators in the hospitals, in case any of them got sick. He said that one of his colleagues needed a ventilator this morning but none could be arranged from any of the hospitals in Lahore. “Mayo Hospital, Ganga Ram Hospital, Services Hospital, Jinnah Hospital and Lahore General Hospital have all run out of ventilators,” he lamented.

He further said that the doctors, nurses and paramedics now faced an extremely low morale due to the government’s inadequate arrangements and flawed policies.

He also said that the government was misquoting the number of infected cases in Punjab. The number of infected cases could be anywhere between one and seven lac, he said, not 30 thousand.

Similarly, he alleged the government claims that 70 percent of its ventilators are available for use right now but, unless they are keeping these in a warehouse, this is an obviously false and extremely irresponsible claim. Even the excess supply of PPE, which is being claimed by the government, is only enough for one or so days, as these are disposable equipment that can only be used once, he added.

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He also claimed that on top of this all, instead of taking doctors into confidence, the government is busy estranging the health professionals by making irresponsible claims on the media about doctors politicising against the government, cutting their salaries by up to 30% to finance the corona relief fund, and setting a ‘humiliating’ criteria of working 84 hours a week to be eligible for the ‘double’ salary incentive given to the doctors. “We need to go into isolation for two weeks after every week of duty, but this scheme from the government obviously disregards that”, he said.

Finally, he said that one of the biggest issues right now was the lack of a dedicated space to receive coronavirus patients when they came to the hospitals, and the government’s lack of capacity to test all the patients who came. “The biggest hospitals in Lahore are only testing one or, at most, two hundred cases a day,” he remarked.

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