Sunday November 28, 2021

Frustration rising as patients complain of delays in tests, meals and poor sanitary conditions

April 27, 2020

Frustration is on the rise among patients at the field isolation facility at the Expo Centre, who held a protest demonstration and a sit-in on Saturday against reported mismanagement, poor sanitary conditions and delays in their coronavirus tests, resulting in delayed discharge of many of the patients.

As many as 275 COVID-19 patients with either no symptoms or with mild symptoms have been kept at the field isolation centre as they neither qualify to be admitted to the tertiary-care health facilities of the city nor can they be allowed to remain at their residences due to fears of spreading the infection to their family members and other relatives.

Some patients under treatment at the centre told The News on Sunday that most of the patients were extremely vexed due to poor management and lack of facilities, and most importantly, delays in their confirmatory tests for coronavirus, which was resulting in further delays in their release from the facility.

“Patients have started lobbying inside the isolation centre and yesterday they held a protest demonstration and sit-in. They were calling for their confirmatory tests as soon as possible so that those who test negative could be released at the earliest," a patient said.

The patient said poor sanitary conditions, lack of any entertainment and complaints about food were some other issued which were giving rise to the frustration at the facility. He added that all these issues had united the patients from different segments of the society, who were now creating problems for the administration.

Giving credit to the Pakistan Army and officers and personnel deployed at the field isolation centre, the patient said that without the presence of the army and its management, this centre could not be run and managed effectively. “Without the army, nobody would have stayed there. They are doing their best to facilitate the patients and resolve their issues as much as possible."

According to another patient, who requested anonymity, some COVID-19 patients from a religious outfit and others were not satisfied with the arrangements for meals and cleanliness, as they wanted to keep fast but were facing difficulties. He said the patients were not happy with the sanitary conditions either, and created trouble for the management of the centre.

Conceding that dissatisfaction was on the rise at the centre, an official involved in the management of the facility said the hospitals in Karachi had run out of testing kits the coronavirus, due to which many patients who should be discharged after testing negative were still at the Expo Centre and they were causing trouble for the management.

“And this is first such facility of its kind in the city where such a large number of people are being kept. Nobody in the management has the experience of hotel management, so issues of meals, housing and cleanliness are arising. We are trying our best to soothe them, but it is very hard for us," the official said requesting anonymity as he was not supposed to speak to the media.

Giving full credit to the Pakistan Army for excellent arrangements for the patients from different socio-economic and religious and ethnic backgrounds at one place, the official said two welfare organisations, including Saylani Welfare and Alamgir Trust, were providing best possible meals for the patients, but he added that it was not possible to provide "meals of choice" to each of the 275 patients at the Expo Centre.

“A psychologist Imran Yousuf is visiting the Expo Centre daily to speak to patients for one hour to help them in overcoming their anxiety, while TV sets have been installed in the halls, but it is very difficult to satisfy each and every person at the isolation centre," the official said.