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Thursday July 25, 2024

Health dept, public hospitals issue conflicting figures of heatstroke victims

By Babar Ali Awan
June 26, 2024
Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at Civil Hospital in Karachi on June 25, 2024. — PPI
Patients of heatstroke receive treatment at Civil Hospital in Karachi on June 25, 2024. — PPI

The Sindh Health Department has failed to establish any mechanism for collecting accurate data on individuals affected by the heatwave in Karachi. The lack of accurate reporting on the affected individuals and the inflated numbers are causing panic among people.

On Tuesday the department released data for the past month, according to which 1,718 individuals were affected by heatstroke in 30 districts of Sindh between May 21 and June 25. This includes 1,269 men, 397 women and 52 children. Of these, 110 individuals and one death were reported in Karachi.

These figures are at odds with the data from the city’s government hospitals. In this regard, this scribe collected data from various hospitals on Tuesday.

Dr Nosheen, head of the accident department at the Jinnah Hospital, said that 20 individuals affected by heatstroke were brought to the hospital on Tuesday and were discharged after they were given medical treatment. However, she said, 10 individuals were brought to the hospital dead, and the causes of their deaths could vary. She added that it is not right to attribute them to heatstroke.

She also said that an unusually high number of dead bodies were brought to the hospital on Monday, but Tuesday’s deaths are in line with the norm.

According to Dr Imran Sarwar, head of the accident department at the Civil Hospital, 65 individuals affected by heatstroke were brought to the hospital on Tuesday, while two individuals were brought dead. He said that six individuals died of heatstroke on Monday, but there were no heatstroke deaths on Tuesday.

Dr Muhammad Javed Iqbal, medical superintendent of the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, said that 60 affected individuals were brought to the hospital on Tuesday, while 16 individuals were brought dead, which is more than their norm. Usually, three to four people a day are brought dead to the hospital, he added.

Dr Rashid Khanzada, MS of the Sindh Government Qatar Hospital, said that seven individuals were brought alive and two dead, which is in line with the norm.

Dr Jameel Ahmed Mughal, MS of the Lyari General Hospital, said that five individuals affected by heatstroke were brought to the hospital. Dr Atiqur Rahman Qureshi, MS of the Sindh Government Hospital Liaquatabad, said that 25 affected individuals were brought to the hospital.

Dr Anis Siddiqui, MS of the Korangi General Hospital, said that 15 individuals affected by heatstroke were brought to the hospital. Dr Hussain Ahmed Jhatial, MS of the Sindh Government Hospital New Karachi, said that 25 individuals were brought to the hospital on Tuesday.

Thus, according to the administrations of eight hospitals in Karachi, 222 affected individuals were brought to the hospitals in just one day, which is more than the health department’s data for one month.

Sources are claiming that hospital heads are inflating the figures of heatwave patients to show their performance, while the health department is understating the figures due to the lack of a system, which is spreading fear. Therefore, the health department needs to establish a system under which a list is issued with the names, ages and addresses of the patients, and the names of the hospitals so that fake and accurate data can be separated, leaving no possibility of false reporting and saving the public from falling prey to fear.