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March 26, 2020

Sindh needs 5,000 more ventilators

National

March 26, 2020

KARACHI: The Sindh Health Department has 484 ventilators in the entire province, of which only 353 are functional, 52 out of order, 43 yet to be installed and 21 being purchased, the chief minister was told during a meeting on Wednesday.

CM Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday said Sindh needs 5,000 more ventilators to deal with any emergency, but in the first phase he is approving the purchase of 290 more of them, which will be installed at different public health facilities in the province.

With the pressure of people mounting on various public and private hospitals for the testing of COVID-19, Shah also approved the purchase of 3.2 million personal protective equipment (PPE), 100 antigen rapid testing devices and 100,000 testing kits. He also approved the purchase of 50 reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-Lamp) testing devices, 10,000 RT-Lamp testing kits and 29 portable X-ray machines so that the testing capacity in the province can be enhanced. One of the leading private hospitals of Karachi and some public health facilities have stopped testing people for the novel coronavirus after their testing abilities have been exhausted, said the health authorities. They added that hundreds of people are reporting daily at the emergencies of public and private hospitals to get tested for COVID-19, compelling the provincial government to purchase testing kits and equipment, 290 ventilators and PPE for health care providers in Sindh. The chief executive gave the approval for the purchase of medical equipment and supplies during the 28th meeting of the task force on coronavirus that he presided over at the CM House. Shah was told that the antigen rapid testing devices prepared by Chinese scientists has an easy system to test samples and it is one of the best machines, as it can conduct 10 tests in an hour. The CM approved the purchase of 100 such devices and 100,000 testing kits, and directed the health department to place the order right then. “I want their delivery as soon as possible!”

He also approved the purchase of RT-Lamp testing devices and 10,000 RT-Lamp testing kits, and issued the directives for ensuring their delivery in the shortest possible time. He was told that seven health facilities have been provided with testing machines: the Chest Clinic Lyari, the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital Kashmore, the Civil Hospital Karachi, the Taluka Hospital Hala, the DHQ Hospital Sanghar, the DHQ Hospital Ghotki and the DHQ Hospital Naushehroferoze.

These health facilities will be able to conduct 1,344 tests in six batches a day. Therefore, they are in need of 120,960 kits for the next 90 days.

COVID-19 tests

Shah was told that the health department has conducted 3,718 COVID-19 tests, of which 3,304 have been declared negative, while 413 of the people tested have been diagnosed as positive cases. Out of the 413 positive cases, 148 are of Karachi and other districts while the remaining 265 are pilgrims. There have been 94 cases of local transmission in the province. At present, 10 people are in isolation at their homes. Out of the 413 positive cases, 145 belong to Karachi, 265 to Sukkur, two to Hyderabad and one to Dadu.