Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho on Tuesday claimed that the health department was establishing and upgrading five hospitals in Karachi to increase the number of beds with ventilators and establish High Dependency Units (HDUs).
By the end of July, she said, there would be 210 beds with ventilators available for the COVID-19 patients in Karachi.
“We are in the process of upgradation of our existing health facilities and establishing new ones to meet the challenge posed by COVID-19. At the moment, we are in the process of upgrading five hospitals to add more ventilators and establish HDUs,” Dr Pechuho said in a video message.
At the moment, she said, the health authorities were in the process of completion of two hospitals – one at NIPA where a 200-bed section is likely to be completed by the end of the current month, while a 40-bed hospital in Gulistan-e-Jauhar is also being completed on a war-footing basis to meet the growing needs of ICUs and HDUs in the province.
Similarly, she added, the Sindh Government Hospital in Liaquatabad and the Sindh Services Hospital on MA Jinnah Road were also being upgraded and ventilators, as well as oxygen supply, was being arranged at these two health facilities.
Dr Pechuho maintained that the number of ICU beds with ventilators would be increased to 160 by the end of June, while 50 more ventilators would be added and by the end of July, there would be 210 ICU beds with ventilators in the city.
Similarly, she said, HDU beds would be increased to 453 by the end of June with the start of NIPA, Gulistan-e-Jauhar and Services hospital facilities. The health minister said 187 more HDU beds would be added to the existing facilities, raising the total number of HDU beds to 640 in the province.
“This would be in addition to a 140-bed HDU that is being established at the Expo Centre Karachi. With the HDU at 140 beds, there would be 780 HDU beds available in the public sector,” the health minister added.
She said that establishing an HDU was a difficult task as it required laying copper pipelines, establishing oxygen generation plants, purchase and installation of monitors, availability of suction instruments with each bed and, most importantly, establishing negative pressure areas so that air from the HDU could be released several hundred feet high in the air to prevent the healthcare providers working in health facilities.
As far as the acquisition and the installation of ventilators were concerned, Dr Pechuho said that immediately after the pandemic, the purchase of ventilators had become a difficult task as no country was willing to sell ventilators without meeting their own needs.
She, however, added that now ventilators were available in the market so they were acquiring them for their hospitals in the province.
“Initially, we got our ventilators repaired which out of order but now we are purchasing the ventilators from the market and installing them at our health facilities,” she said. She urged the people, especially the elderly, to take all precautionary measures and protect themselves from the viral disease as much as possible.