The video link was set up at the private South City Hospital in Karachi to enable relatives to feel closer to their loved ones in the ICU, as visits inside that facility are prohibited.
The screen is the closest Ameen has come to seeing his father for about 18 months. The 33-year-old flew back to Pakistan from his home in Melbourne, Australia, when his dad was hospitalized.
“Seeing him on a screen like that was pretty traumatizing for me,” said Ameen. “We told him that yes, I am here, and I want to see him healthy and smiling back again.”
But Ameen’s father didn’t survive. Instead, he became one of thousands of Pakistanis to die from the virus.
“The vaccine is not here in this country for the foreseeable future,” says Dr. Nashwa Ahmad, Coordinator of Covid Services and Research and Development at South City Hospital.
“That means our health care workers still have to continue to do their jobs, (and) endless hours, without the protection of the vaccine.
“A vaccine would definitely have given us the additional boost we needed to continue on with fighting the disease.”
The hospital has been overwhelmed with “a tsunami of patients,” Ahmad says. The three Covid-19 ICU wards are full, and more patients are waiting in ambulances outside.
“We are full, we have patients waiting, we have families who are suffering, we have patients at home, sick patients at home, patients who are on oxygen, we just don’t have space in hospitals,” she says.
Pakistan’s health minister confirmed this week that his country will also receive 17 million doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in 2021.
About 6 million of those doses are expected in the country in March with the remaining batches following in the second quarter of the year.
A ‘humongous logistical challenge’
Pakistan is also pinning its hopes on COVAX, the global initiative to provide up to 2 billion vaccine doses to the most vulnerable 20% of the world’s poorest populations, formed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
“This is an unprecedented effort,” said Aurélia Nguyen, managing director of…
Go to the news source: Pakistan battles ‘tsunami’ of Covid-19 patients with few vaccines in sight