Wednesday July 06, 2022

Flawed COVID-19 policy

June 21, 2020

Pakistan’s death toll surpasses 3400; unfortunately this is just the beginning of a wave of patients that will inevitably face defeat in the fight for their lives at the hands of this life threatening ailment. The culprit above the surface is the virus, however lurking behind the shadows, is the failure of the government who are more concerned with the resuscitation of the fragile economy. Authoritative Institutions must subside and allow for the health workers, experts to mandate appropriate regulations unescorted by official influence, as they are highly equipped within the realm of the novel virus.

In a recent study conducted by the Deep Knowledge Group, Pakistan was ranked as the third riskiest country. The study analysed factors such as government efficiency, health readiness, quarantine efficiency, monitoring and detection.

It would seem as if doctors and nurses are battling this virus alone, frantically treating one patient after the next. They are fighting to save their own lives as well as the lives of patients. Over 2,300 of the health care workers and technicians have secluded themselves within self-isolation after exhibiting traits of the disease, many have died. The government claim they are in control of the situation; however, the health care system has exhausted all resources and is crumbling under the patient load. Hospitals are running short on beds, ventilators as well as trained personnel. Young inexperienced doctors are left at the neck of it all in order to somewhat bridge the gap.

The governments preposition and leniency towards the lockdown has created havoc in the medical sector. The governments’ decisions on easing of the lockdown for allowing the economy to breathe have suffocated the already precarious health system. The government conceived argument by enunciating that the economy is in murky waters, however what they fail to acknowledge is that the already fragile economy will divulge into greater depths of submersion if death rates continue to escalate. Gesturing towards the west, the government indicated that the world has acknowledged lifting and easing of the lockdown, however the west considered easing of lockdown once figures of patients coinciding with death rates decreased, whereas Pakistan’s figures continue to climb. Countries such as Switzerland and Germany had contemplated gradual easing of the lockdown and economic freezing conforming to scientific facts, keeping in mind the wellbeing of their citizens.

Is the government willing to pay the lofty price of championing their economy will treading over human lives as well the lives of healthcare workers. This virus cannot be tamed, but the proliferation of its infections can be suppressed. Not many will die from hunger whereas dying from the COVID-19 crisis is inevitable. There are programmes that can be reinforced to curtail the spread of hunger, what the government needs to focus on right now is relinquishing the strain on the choking health sector by giving them time to catch up with the tsunami of patients that are a wave away, for which the health scientists are shouting.

The novel virus set shock waves within the health care system around the world, entailing lack of ventilators and trained staff. One can only imagine the catastrophe Pakistan is yet to endure. Unavailability of resources and lack of data point towards a calamity of unprecedented heights.

— The author is MPhil in International Relations