Healthcare Professionals must find time to relax and look after their own mental Health-Ali Hashmi

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PMA’s 5th Academic Webinar
Healthcare Professionals must find time to relax
and look after their own mental Health-Ali Hashmi
Grief & bereavement as per our culture has lot of positive
effect-Mowadat Rana Covid Vaccination is safe during
pregnancy & one can use any brand-Mulazim Bukhari

KARACHI: Pakistan Medical Association organized its 5th Academic Webinar in collaboration with AJK Medical College, Muzaffarabad, Women Medical College Abbottabad on August 29th 2021. Prof. Ali Hashmi Prof of Psychiatry at King Edward Medical University was the main speaker while the panelists included Prof. Balqis Shabbir Prof. of Medicine at King Edward Medical University and Prof. Mulazim Hussain Bokhari Principal of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Medical College, Muzaffarabad. The theme of the seminar was “COVID19 & Mental Health: The Hidden Pandemic”.

Prof. Ali Hashmi in his presentation talked about the absence or inadequate mental health services available all over the country to manage the disease burden. Keeping this in view, KEMU he said, had established a Telemedicine service wherein Tele psychiatry was an important component and myself along with Prof. Nazish Imran and our team have been responding to questions, helping and guiding managing Covid patients suffering from various mental disorders from all over the country and even overseas. It was a great success. He specially thanked the Governor of Punjab Chaudhry Sarwar for his patronage and the efforts of VC KEMU Prof. Khalid Masood Gonadal to start and manage this service providing all the needed facilities of staff, space and internet service.


Prof. Ali Madeeh Hashmi

He emphasized the early recognition of mental health issues in patients suffering from Covid19 infection which gives good results and helps in rehabilitation of patients once they have come out of Covid crisis situation. He also referred to the Performa which their team had designed to decide which patient has to be put on mechanical ventilation at what time to save their lives. At times the number of patients are too many and the hospitals have very few ventilators hence it is the treating physicians which have to decide which patient should be put on ventilator ensuring judicious use of the scarce resources keeping up professional ethics. All this is not so easy at times and healthcare team is confronted with numerous problems.

Prof. Ali Hashmi advised his professional colleagues to find some time to relax and take care of their own mental health. If they are healthy, they will be in a position to discharge their duties more efficiently. To keep good mental health, it is essential that one enjoys good physical health. For that, one must have good sleep, go to bed early, have good healthy diet and go for regular exercise. Those who do not adopt this in their daily life, they suffer more from burnout syndrome, he remarked.


Prof. Mowadat H. Rana

Prof. Mowadat H. Rana participating in the discussion pointed out that grief and bereavement as per our culture has a lot of positive effect on the ultimate outcome and it does takes care of mental health issues. After the death of family members and close relatives, the family is in bereavement. They are in grief and one must provide ample opportunities to manage this grief as per our cultural traditions of Soem, 9th, 10th or 40th day of death reciting Quran and praying for the departed soul. Otherwise some of the family members might suffer from acute grief reactions which have very serious consequences, he remarked.


Prof. Bilqees Shabbir

Replying to a question from Prof. Balqis Shabbir as to the red flag which should alert the treating physicians about the patients thinking of committing suicide, Prof. Ali Hashmi said that previous history of any suicide attempt, history of mental disorders like depression and anxiety etc., should be kept in mind. Prof. Ashraf Nizami President of PMA Lahore said that their personal experience of working during earthquake in Azad Kashmir showed that the HCPs working under such stressful circumstances suffer from burnout syndrome after a week, hence we decided to replace all the teams working in the earthquake rehabilitation programme after every week. Hence he suggested that the duty hours of healthcare professionals working in ICU and Covid Wards should not be more than six hours and they must be given adequate time to rest, relax after few days. This improves their competence, ability and efficiency to manage these patients.


Prof. Bilqees Shabbir shared the unfortunate incident of a successful suicide of a Covid patient admitted in the Intensive Care Unit of Mayo Hospital Lahore. Investigations revealed that he asked his brother who was with him to go out to bring something and then used the knife brought to him with fruits by the relatives. Since he was a farmer and Butcher, he knew exactly how to cut the throat with the first attempt. One has to be careful of all such incidents. Prof. Ali Hashmi and his team helped us prevent many other attempted suicide cases with timely identification and managing them in time, she remarked.


Prof. Mulazim Hussain Bukhari

Responding to a question from Dr. Qaiser Sajjad General Secretary of PMA, Prof. Mulazim Hussain Bokhari said that vaccination against Covid is safe during pregnancy, in the first trimester, second and third trimester and one can use any brand of vaccine. Similarly, vaccination is also safe during breast feeding. Since as a general rule it is advisable to avoid any drug during the first few weeks of pregnancy, doctors are reluctant to support vaccination. Prof. Balqis Shabbir pointed out that now numerous studies are available which shows that vaccination is safe not only during pregnancy but during the conception period as well and we need to create awareness and educate the healthcare professionals on these issues.

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