Balochistan has been at the center of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the quarantine crisis at Taftan. Nearly 4,500 pilgrims arrived from Iran. These pilgrims were quarantined at Taftan.
Out of those 4500, 100 have tested positive and are being treated at Quetta’s Sheikh Zayed Hospital. However, some of the doctors in the hospital have refused isolation ward duties due to insufficient measures for their safety. The Young Doctors Association (YDA) in Balochistan have also highlighted this issue.
Lack of safety gears for doctors in Balochistan
The YDA in Balochistan has expressed its concern over the shortage of facilities for combating the COVID-19 epidemic. This includes a lack of safety gears for the healthcare professionals working at hospitals and quarantine centers formed for patients affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Sunday, Quetta based doctor Muhabat Khan Tareen tweeted a video that showed the dismal condition of the Balochistan hospitals in COVID-19 Pandemic.
The doctor stated in his tweet: “This is Balochistan’s Hospital Situation in Covid-19 Pandemic. This is the real situation where Young Drs perform their duties. Chief Minister is misguided about the ground Situation by the looters.”
This is Balochistan's Hospital Situation in Covid-19 Pandemic. This is the real situation where Young Drs perform their duties. Cheif Minister is misguided about the ground Situation by the looters.@jam_kamal @ZarrarKhuhro @ZiaKhanqta @LiaquatShahwani @voicepkdotnet @HamidMirPAK pic.twitter.com/Ag5SC0bIaL
— Muhabat Khan Tareen (@MuhabatKhan) March 29, 2020
In terms of key social indicators, Balochistan is lagging behind all other provinces in Pakistan. Most of Balochistan’s rural areas don’t even have sufficient medical facilities. As per the data provided by the health department, the estimated number of doctors operating in Balochistan is around 5000 to provide healthcare facilities for nearly 12 million individuals.
On March 26, The government of Balochistan announced to recruit doctors on a contractual basis to handle the coronavirus outbreak.
Liaquat Shahwani, the Spokesman for the Government of Balochistan, stated the government will ensure health facilities for the masses.
A letter was sent by the Balochistan Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD) to the Balochistan Public Service Commission for appointing 344 doctors in the province on February 28th, 2020. However, the commission is yet to initiate the appointment process of doctors. It is pertinent to add here that the S&GAD had asked BPSC to halt its operations amidst the coronavirus crisis.
However, the BPSC is trying to hire more doctors on an ad-hoc basis.
The Government of Balochistan has also started establishing container hospitals and emergency relief centers to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, Chief Minister of Balochistan, took the decision.
These container hospitals would be provided with some of the latest health facilities. This includes operation theaters and isolation wards. It will also include accommodation for paramedical staff and doctors.
As per the provincial disaster management authority, over 1,500 containers will be prepared.
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