PESHAWAR: With five more Covid-19 patient deaths, four in Peshawar and one in Swat, the number of deaths increased to 98 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as the number of patients increased to 1,864 with 71 new cases on Sunday.
Experts believe that non-compliance with national guidelines regarding social distancing rules is causing an increase in Covid-19 cases, as well as deaths from the infection.
The health department report said 30 more patients recovered in the past 24 hours, bringing the count of all cured patients to 515 in the province so far.
“Social distancing is not observed, especially in mosques and hujras. A very informal community response is observed in the markets.
Health seeking behavior, late arrival to hospitals, and burial problems may be the cause of the increased positivity and mortality in KP, ”Professor Ziaul Haq, dean of public health and vice chancellor of the University of Khyber medicine.
Five more die from Covid-19; the number of patients reaches 1,864 with 71 new cases in KP
He said that people should be clearly informed that the health system was already under immense pressure and that a greater burden could force its collapse if they did not take voluntary social distancing seriously.
On March 26, the federal government issued social distancing guidelines during the Covid-19 epidemic to break the chain of transmission of the virus through person-to-person contact and reduce the risk of becoming infected during the pandemic.
Preventive measures played an important role in limiting the spread of a communicable disease, he said, and could help reduce infection transmission and unnecessary burden on health facilities.
“Stay home when there is no urgent need to leave. Avoid physical contact with others as much as possible. And stay away from handshakes, "he said. However, people have not taken it seriously, and as a result, confirmed cases and deaths from the virus are on the rise.
According to the latest report from the World Health Organization, Peshawar accounted for six percent of the national case load after Karachi with 14 percent and Lahore with 22 percent. Peshawar, with a population of five million, has 576 cases out of a total of 1,793 and 52 deaths out of 98 across the province. Every fifth person in the city has tested positive, the highest rate in the country.
The fatality rate (CFR) in Peshawar is 8.7%, the highest in any city in Pakistan. It has 53 percent of KP's total deaths. KP has 5.2 pc CFR, the highest of any province in the country. The national CFR is 2.1 pc. Swat is also among the top 10 most charged Covid-19 districts with three pc of cases nationwide. It has 153 cases and 11 deaths.
Professor Ziaul Haq said Pakistan had a weak health system that did not have the capacity to absorb Covid-19 related morbidity and mortality.
"There is no public health structure in Pakistan. As a public health professional, I recommend the formation of a "public health authority" in Pakistan, led by professionals and working under the local government department rather than the health department. Only then can they focus on the preventive and promotional model instead of the curative one, ”he said.
KP has improved laboratory tests, but remains low: 662 vs. 4,016 in Islamabad. Districts have to spend a lot of resources to send the sample to the few laboratories and therefore only selective samples are sent. It is necessary to establish more laboratories in all the divisions of the province.
All medical education institutions, district headquarters hospitals, tuberculosis centers, general universities and the private sector must play a proactive role.
There is a continuous influx of pilgrims and Tableeghi Jamaat members who have high positivity. Confusion about isolation and quarantine centers still persists.
There are many quarantine centers in the province, mainly established and administered by the district administration. High-risk individuals are picked up and housed there, but within quarantine centers or quarantine areas, infection prevention and control SOPS may not be properly followed, which can increase transmission and positivity. "As a result, the CFR can increase even more dramatically," said Professor Zia.
Posted in Dawn, April 27, 2020