Sindh Govt.’s performance has been far better than Federal and other provincial Governments

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 Fight against COVID19 Pandemic
Sindh Govt.’s performance has been
far better than Federal and other
provincial Governments
It listened to Health Experts, gave them due
respect, followed their advice & took some
unpopular decisions in time

KARACHI: The performance of the Sindh Government in fight against COVID19 pandemic has been far better as compared to federal and other provincial governments. It not only listened to the health experts, gave them due respect but also took unpopular decisions in time which forced other provincial governments to follow their strategy. Had we imposed complete effective lockdown during the first two to three weeks, the situation would have been much better and it would not have prolonged our fight against this deadly virus.

The important highlight of the Sindh Government’s strategy was it not only listened to the Health Experts but also gave them due respects and followed their advice, taking some unpopular decisions in time. On the contrary the federal government looked confused throughout and so was the case with other provincial governments. They did not pay any heed to the repeated calls and warnings by the distinguished medical personalities like Prof. Abdul Bari Khan, Dr. Saad Khalid Niaz, representatives of Pakistan Medical Association, Pakistan Islamic Medical Association. Instead when they addressed a press conference at Karachi, Shahbaz Gill spokesman from the PM office speaking in a live TV talk show leveled serious allegations on these doctors saying that they addressed this press conference on the advice of Sindh Government. On questioning their motive by the host of the Talk Show Mr. Shahbaz Gill remarked that “Don’t you think doctors can be corrupt. Don’t they wish to be appointed as Medical Superintendent of hospitals and want other priviliges?” When his attention was drawn towards the fact that those who addressed the press conference were all respectable medical personalities, he refused to change his views. This only shows how ignorant people like Dr. Shahbaz Gill are. Perhaps he does not know any one of them. Prof. Abdul Bari Khan enjoys tremendous respect due to his project Indus Health Network which is providing free healthcare for the last many years. Recognizing his and his team’s services, the previous Shahbaz Sharif Government of Punjab and Sindh Government have handed over some public hospitals in their respective provinces to Indus Health Network which they are running successfully. Dr. Saad Khalid Niaz is a distinguished gastroenterologist of Pakistan who has been providing his services at Civil Hospital Karachi in honorary capacity for the last many years and has trained numerous specialists. It was in recognition of his selfless services that the Government of Pakistan honoured and awarded him Sitara-e-Imtiaz. These medical personalities are least interested in jobs like Medical Superintendent or any other priviliges. Mr. Shahbaz Gill has so far neither apologies to these medical personalities nor withdrawn his remarks which will be shown by the TV Channels repeatedly in the days to come to embarrass the PTI Government.

Then PMA (C) office bearers addressed a press conference at Lahore as well. It was followed by press conference by PIMA representatives at Islamabad, other doctor’s organization representatives at Peshawar and Quetta. Luckily for the PTI, its foolish friends did not blame it on PML (N). If the Sindh Government kept a constant liaison with the Health Experts listened to their advice and followed it, doctors were manhandled at Lahore, Lathi charged at Peshawar and Quetta, arrested and sent to Jail when they were protesting for provision of PPEs, N95 masks, other protective measures. No such incident was reported from anywhere in Sindh province and the constant engagement of the authorities here with the doctor’s representatives enabled them to handle the situation much better. On the other hand it was during the PTI government that the Provincial Health Minister’s guards inflicted serious head injuries to a faculty member of Khyber Medical College and it was also during the PTI Government that Punjab Institute of Cardiology at Lahore was ransacked forcing to close its services for many days. It exposed the incompetence and inefficiency of the Buzdar lead provincial PTI Government.

The performance of the Advisor on Health to the Prime Minister Dr. Zafar Mirza has also left much to be desired. Starting from the mishandling of the return of Zaireens from Iran at Taftan Borders in Baluchistan where they were herded in rooms in the so called quarantine and later they were also allowed to leave without being tested. When on a live TV Talk show one of the host showed the press conference of these health experts, representatives of PMA and PIMA to Dr. Zafar Mirza, he said, many of them are my friends but they are clinicians who treat these patients but they are not public health experts and do not know much about epidemiology. The Prime Minister was not provided right guidance with the result that there was confusion all around and in such a situation, how one can expect the pubic to follow protective measures. It was this confusion which rendered the so called lockdown highly ineffective and it failed to achieve the desired objectives.

With the increased relaxation, we may be in for a major disaster in the days to come during the month of June. God forbid, we may see manifold increase in the number of infected cases and those who need admission to Intensive Care Units and Ventilator support. It will be a test of the fragile health infrastructure of Pakistan.

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