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Punjab Health Minister Says Vaccine Trials Are Complete and Results Being Reviewed

-- Dr Yasmin Rashid says frontline workers are first priority for corona vaccine


RAWALPINDI– Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid has said that best possible treatment of COVID-19 is being provided at Punjab’s public sector hospitals and there has been a significant decrease in the number of cases recently as compared to other parts of the country.
She was speaking to media after a visit of the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology. Present at the occasion were Additional Secretary Development Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department Dr. Asif Tufail and Vice Chancellor Rawalpindi Medical University Professor Dr. Omar.
The Health Minister further said that Punjab has conducted over 2.8 million Corona tests and the process of Contact Tracing tests is vigorously underway. In the last 24 hours, 15300 corona tests were performed. She added that the first shipment of the Corona vaccine shall reach Pakistan very soon and vaccine shall be distributed to all provinces as per national policy. If a notable decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases is witnessed after 15th February, the Dialysis, Emergency and outdoor will be formally opened for all patients at the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology.
The Health Minister said, “The promise of Prime Minister Imran Khan on provision of Sehat Sahulat Cards for every household of Punjab is very soon going to be fulfilled. By December 2021, all 29.3 million families of Punjab will be provided Sehat Sahulat Cards. Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has given final shape to the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and allocated Rs. 80 billion for the program. So far we have distributed cards among 5.2 million families of Punjab and 287,000 people have utilized the services from the card. In case a patient exhausts his stipulated limit of 720,000, he may be given additional cover of 300,000. The card holders can avail the facility of free healthcare from over 270 private sector hospitals in the province.
The Health Minister further said, “I want to assure that trials of COVEX have been completed in partnership with World Health Organization and GAVI and the results are being reviewed in Canada. In the next two to three weeks, complete results will come to the fore. We have conducted trials jointly with COVEX therefore large share of vaccine shall be provided to us. As per agreed policy, in the next three to four months vaccine for 20 per cent population will be given to Pakistan. Initially, the vaccine shall be provided to frontline health workers and then people of over 65 age group suffering from other ailments shall be given. The number of recovered patients of COVID-19 is much greater than the number of new admissions.”
The Health Minister further said that Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has inaugurated the Typhoid vaccination campaign just a day earlier. She said, “Under this campaign, children between ages of 9 months to 15 years shall be given vaccination from 1st to 15th of February. In this campaign, more than 20 million children shall be given vaccination at camps and kit stations set up at stipulated sites and educational institutions. This will be a unique and historic campaign in which such a large age group shall be vaccinated. This campaign is being conducted in partnership with World Health Organization and UNICEF and we are trying to save children from water borne diseases.”
Responding to queries of journalists, the Health Minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to make Pakistan a welfare state by creating maximum facilities in health and education for people. In order to achieve this dream, revolutionary steps are being taken in both health and education. The holders of Sehat Sahulat cards can avail free health services at the RIC, PIC, MIC and FIC. Thousands of people who availed free healthcare services pray for the Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar for this great initiative. She said in case of refusal from a healthcare facility, patients can file complaints and government will definitely take notice. She said the government is trying to ensure that a poor man does not bear the burden of health expenses hence Sehat Sahulat cards are given. The card holders can get treatment of Trauma, Seizure, Hernia, cardiac problems neurosurgery, dialysis, diabetes as well as other diseases. She said the government has evolved a strategy to monitor doctors’ attendance, treatment for patients and provision of medicines. Top officials of the department undertake surprise visits of different facilities and monitor the status of facilities at different hospitals. In case of negligence, strict action is taken against the responsible staff.
She also denied the news of decline of free treatment to a card holder in Jhang and said that free services are provided only for hospital admissions and all medicines are provided totally free to admitted patients. Once the patient is discharged, he may be give a support of Rs. 1000 and medicine of five days if deemed necessary. In District Jhang, she added, about 150 people have been provided eye treatment. The Sehat Sahulat Card holders can get free treatment from over 350 hospitals all over Pakistan.

Status of facilities for COVID-19 patients in Punjab

On directions from Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid, the Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department released the status of facilities for COVID-19 patients here on Thursday.

As per the latest statistics released by Secretary Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department, Barrister Nabeel Awan, as many as 128,319 patients have recovered and returned to their homes in the Pandemic so far in the province. Out of 7280 reserved beds for COVID-19 patients, 6334 are available. In Lahore’s public sector hospitals, 1851 beds are available out of 2174 reserved. In Isolation Wards of Punjab’s hospitals, 4172 are available out of 4547 reserved for Corona Pandemic. In Isolation Wards of Lahore Hospitals, 1345 beds are available out of 1445 reserved.

In High Dependency Units of Punjab hospitals, 1755 are available out of 2211 reserved for COVID -19 patients. In HDUs of Lahore hospitals, 387 beds are available out of 543.

In Punjab, the number of ventilators available is 407 out of 521 reserved for Corona patients. In Lahore’s hospitals, 119 ventilators are available out of 188 reserved for Corona.— HANDOUT