Capital’s hospitals face shortage of ventilators

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Philanthropists donate 11 to PIMS

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad—Public sector hospitals in the federal capital have been facing severe shortage of ventilators, life supporting machine.
According to sources, there are about sixty-three ventilators at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and five in Poly Clinic despite the fact that thousands of people visit the two hospitals on daily basis not only from the capital territory but other districts and areas including Chakwal, Jhelum, Murree and Azad Kashmir. Due to non availability of adequate number of these life supporting machines, the patients end up running between the public sector hospitals and private hospitals.
Most of the patients visiting these two hospitals belong to the lower income groups and they can not afford the expenditures of ventilator machines in private hospitals. Recently also, the Islamabad High Court had also directed the administration of PIMs to procure more ventilators to cater the growing number of patients. According to one estimate, PIMs alone require 250 to 300 ventilators as the hospital OPD receives around seven thousand patients daily while five thousand patients daily visit the emergency ward of the hospital. According to hospital sources, due to non availability of sufficient number of ventilators, many of the serious patients are referred to the private hospitals while those who can not afford end up losing their lives.
The sources said that situation becomes more precarious when any of the ventilators become dysfunctional due to some technical fault. They said that the government is planning to construct more hospitals in the capital. “Before constructing new facilities, the government should first equip the existing hospitals with the necessary equipment”.
It is worth mentioning that daughter of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, on public complaints about poor services and mismanagement at PIMs, had asked the Capital Administration and Development Division to look into the matter. On her directions, the administration of PIMs was reshuffled and National Institute of Medical Rehabilitation Director Dr Fazl-e-Maula was made the new administrator.
Taking notice of the shortage of ventilators and the miseries of patients and their attendants, Philanthropists have come forward and have recently donated eleven ventilators amounting to Rs 35 million to the PIMs which, according to hospital sources, will soon be installed at different units including the ICU.
When contacted by Pakistan Observer, the officials at CADD said that they are alive to the situation and procurement of more ventilators is in the process.

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