KEMU & Mayo Hospital plays an admirable role in managing patients during COVID19 Pandemic


KEMU & Mayo Hospital plays an admirable role
in managing patients during COVID19 Pandemic
Important accomplishments include Telemedicine
Dept. providing round the clock service, TelePsychiatry
Service, over 50 research project related to COVID19
and Training courses for HCPs

By Dr. Nazish Imran

LAHORE: COVID-19 was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 30th January 2020 and later as “Pandemic” on March 11th 2020, due to its continuous spread internationally. COVID-19 has placed extraordinary demands upon healthcare systems worldwide, including Pakistan. The first case of COVID-19 in Pakistan was reported on 26th February 2020 and according to data released by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Government of Pakistan (GoP), the number of confirmed cases in the country has increased to 250.977 as of 12th July, 2020 with 5,257 deaths. Following the outbreak, King Edward Medical University and Mayo Hospital Lahore took many measures supporting health care providers and facilities to build their capacity for the preparedness and response.

Governor of Punjab Ch. Muhammad Sarwar formally inaugurating the Telemedicine
Dept. and Corona Helpdesk at the KEMU. Also seen in the picture are VC KEMU
Prof.Khalid Masood Gondal, Prof.Saira Afzal and Dr Tahir Khalil MS Mayo Hospital.

One of the major initiatives by KEMU Vice Chancellor Professor Khalid Masood Gondal was to establish a Telemedicine department at KEMU, to provide timely and continuous support and facilitate the outdoor patients amid the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 Corona virus. It was inaugurated by Chancellor, honorable Governor of Punjab on 23rd March 2020. Dedicated staff including specialized doctors, IT personnel and support staff remain available in the telemedicine department round the clock for the assistance of patients via internet using Skype, WhatsApp and landline. Corona Helpdesk was also established in King Edward Medical University and consisted of four Helpdesks working 24/7 and giving reliable and accurate information and services about COVID-19 prevention, diagnosis, burial practices, home quarantine, home isolation, vitals and oxygen saturation monitoring at home, nutritional information, use of hand hygiene, masks, respiratory etiquettes, social distancing and early referral to the healthcare facility. People are contacting doctors through Corona Helpdesk from all over Pakistan and from very remote areas like Layya, Bakkhar, DG Khan etc. Another important aspect of Telemedicine department was the provision of TelePsychiatry services, first of its kind in the country. It is a patient centered consultation program and offers mental health services to all confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospital patients in Mayo hospital regardless of whether they were diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. Along-side patients from all around Punjab are also accessing this service regarding Psychological issues. Healthcare workers (HCWs) on COVID-19 Pandemic forefront also face multiple stressors and KEMU established a confidential staff support services to promote mental health and wellbeing of HCWs.

Delegation of Chinese Experts in COVID-19 Prevention and Management during their
visit to KEMU photographed alongwith Punjab Health Minister Prof. Yasmeen Rashid,,
VC KEMU Prof. Khalid Masood
Gondal and faculty members of
King Edward Medical University.

As the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, many healthcare workers were faced with previously unknown situations and lack of essential skills. To assist those in need of additional information, a number of training sessions were held in University by Professor Saqib Saeed (Dean of Medicine and Chairman Dept. of Chest Medicine), Dr Salman Ayaz, Prof Bilquis Shabbir, Prof Saira Afzal and Anesthesia Department Faculty under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Prof. Khalid Masood Gondal. These sessions included infection prevention and control, application and removal of PPE, critical care resources, invasive ventilation, and many more.

APPNA, KEMCA UK, KEMCAANA and APPS -UK are playing a crucial role in knowledge transfer and training of medical doctors amidst COVID-19 Pandemic situation in King Edward Medical University. They also sent Personal Protective Equipment for our healthcare professionals and regularly providing updates on the management and diagnostics of SARS.COV 2. Vice Chancellor King Edward Medical University Prof Khalid Masood Gondal was also invited to second BRIMEA Conference online proceedings by China Medical University. Knowledgeable speakers presented their experiences about medical education and research especially during COVID-19 situation. Academic activities including MBBS classes are also being conducted online using Google Classroom and other technologies.

Prof. Amar Zaman Khan VC Fatima Jinnah Medical University, Prof. Mustafa Kamal Pasha
VC Nishtar Medical University and other guests photographed alongwith Prof. Asad Aslam
Chief Eecutive of Mayo Hospital Lahore during their visit to KEMU/MH, Lahore.

Research has been a priority at KEMU as it realizes that evidence base plays a vital role, assisting our government and institutions to develop services and policies that are responsive to an identified need. More than 50 projects are being processed currently in University related to COVID-19 including KEMU/MHL being part of some multicenter drugs trials as well. Annals of KEMU also plans to publish special issue on COVID-19, the purpose of which is to publish latest updates and evidence-based practices to control and curb the Pandemic and how to mitigate the consequences. University wishes to bring together different stakeholders from all over the globe with their academic experiences and practitioners’ perspectives on pandemics and its effects.

Since the outbreak of Corona virus in Punjab, Mayo hospital, the largest affiliated hospital of KEMU has been the most heavily impacted healthcare facility in the province, out of 19 state run hospitals in Lahore. Mayo Hospital under the leadership of CEO Professor Asad Aslam played a critical role within the Provincial health system in providing essential medical care to the community, in COVID-19 crisis. Mayo Hospital’s effective, pandemic response included: (1) the continuity of essential services; (2) the well-coordinated implementation of priority action at every level; (3) clear and accurate internal and external communication; (4) swift adaptation to increased demands; (5) the effective use of scarce resources; and (6) a safe environment for health workers. Mayo Hospital Chief Executive Officer (CEO and in charge Corona centre Professor Asad Aslam Khan confirmed that Mayo hospital expanded its normal capacity to meet an increase demand for clinical care from initial six rooms allocation on March 6, 2020, when first patient of COVID-19 was admitted in the Mayo hospital facility to currently available dedicated 418 covid-19 beds in hospital. At one stage Mayo Hospital witnessed admission of 480 COVID-19 patients in the facility. There was one eight bedded ICU at the beginning of the outbreak and over the last few months more ICUS were established and Mayo Hospital’s 5th ICU will soon be inaugurated, increasing ICU beds strength to 65, the largest critical care facility in the province. All drugs and treatments were provided to admitted patients free of costs. Initially few tests were unavailable at Mayo but from mid-June, all relevant tests like D-Dimer, CRP etc. except PCR are being done in Mayo Hospital Central Lab.

Documents shared by hospital showed that there are 56 admitted patients in the COVID-19 Ward at the moment. While, to date 2341 patients have been admitted in Mayo hospital, 1009 have recovered and 321 died of deadly disease. Majority of deaths were of the patients who were brought to hospital in critical stage and refused admission by other facilities and needed direct admission to ICU in hospital, Professor Asad Aslam commented.

Mayo hospital is also housing a Central Coronavirus Command and Control room for Lahore, where information about status of occupied and vacant beds and other statistics are updated every two hourly from 31 public private sector hospitals in Lahore. Professor Asad Aslam also stated that Hospital administration has ensured that personal protective equipment (PPE) (i.e. medical/surgical masks, gloves, gowns, eye protection) is easily accessible to staff to minimize risk to Healthcare staff. Stock for next 15 days remains available in Mayo hospital as part of preparedness response. Professor Asad Aslam has also played a key role in establishment of 280 bedded ICU facility in Expo centre with continuous availability of oxygen, should the need arise in future. Mayo hospital administration is also working to raise public awareness about COVID-19 and counter rumors and misinformation.

Even for well-prepared Institutions and hospitals around the world, coping with health consequences of a pandemic would be a complex challenge. Despite the difficult demands and obstacles, King Edward Medical University and Mayo Hospital Lahore teams under the leadership of Professor Khalid Masood Gondal and Professor Asad Aslam have done an admirable job of initiating actions needed to ensure a rapid and effective response to COVID-19 Pandemic.

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