Doctors, paramedics playing role of ‘frontline soldiers’ in COVID-19 crisis

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Dr Saeed Ahmed Ali

LAHORE, May 12 (APP):Globally, since the outbreak of COVID-19, doctors and paramedics have been playing a leading role as ‘frontline soldiers’ while serving humanity against the deadly virus.

The nation has time and again paid rich tribute to them for their unflinching commitment and devotion to their profession to save precious human lives. Their role was acknowledged and they were termed as ‘frontline heroes’ in fight against the coronavirus.

Across the globe due to surge of coronavirus cases, the medical professionals are being faced with numerous challenges. Other than taking risk for their lives in line of their duties, they are also facing tough psychological conditions and mental stress due to the ongoing situation of COVID-19 crisis.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) situation report, in Pakistan, so far 509 doctors, nurses and healthcare workers had been affected by the novel coronavirus. Likewise, the healthcare professionals are still witnessing intensified situation in hospitals and medical units.

Acknowledging the services of doctors’ community amid the coronavirus spread, the Prime Minister Imran khan has approved Rs. 784 million supplementary grants to provide them allowances.

According to a notification of Ministry of Health Services, Regulation and coordination, initially this grant is for the doctors working in four hospitals of the federal capital.

The grant would be distributed among the doctors and hospitals which included Rs 438,428 million for PIMS, Rs266.511 million for federal Government Poly Clinic, Rs38.512 million for NIRM and Rs40.549 million for Federal Government Hospital (FGH).

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza had also launched an online ‘Yaran-e-Watan’, initiative for overseas Pakistani health professionals and experts to invite them to become a part of the national fight against COVID-19.

Yaran-e-Watan platform would help enable Pakistani medical professionals contributing to the country’s fight against corona pandemic, he said during the launching of the initiative. “All health experts can register themselves on the website yaranewatan.gov.pk,” Zafar Mirza said.

Following the government instructions, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has provided the fourth consignment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) kits to the doctors and paramedics across the country.

Likewise, a working group consisting of local and international experts has been constituted by the Punjab government to assess the health and economic impacts of coronavirus pandemic. According to Punjab health Department report, the government has acknowledged almost all demands of the doctors by ensuring them provision of PPEs, kits and full screening.

Talking to APP, the Spokesperson of Punjab government Musarrat Cheema said that the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf government was striving hard to facilitate the doctors, nurses and paramedics to improve the health facilities amid COVID-19 pandemic.

She said that government was further strengthening the best available workforce and setting up new hospitals and quasi-hospital facilities to accommodate and treat the COVID-19 patients.

Services hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Iftikhar Ahmed said that doctors, nurses and healthcare staff were rendering valuable services to the coronavirus patients. He said that the government has lauded the passion of medical professionals. “The medical professionals who sacrificed their life during the duty of coronavirus pandemic have been given the status of Martyr (Shaheed),” he added.

Musarrat Cheema said the government was well aware of the current challenges which it fore-sees over the coming days and weeks, it was bracing itself for them.

To a query, she said that Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has announced a relief package to give one-month additional salary to doctors, nurses and healthcare staff engaged in the treatment of coronavirus patients.

She said that this salary would be paid from 1st of April, adding that the Chief Minister had further reiterated that “If anybody dies, the heirs would be provided with financial aid under martyrs’ package,” she added.

Spokesperson of Punjab government said that the government has established effective bodies and forums to deal with the coronavirus crisis in the country. These bodies included: National Security Committee, National Coordination Committee, National Command and Operation Center.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Chinese military and civil doctors along with emergency medical supplies and equipment had already arrived in Pakistan.

They are working with their expertise in treatment of patients and training of the professionals.