PESHAWAR: Khyber Teaching Hospital closed a ward after 16 health workers, half of them doctors, were infected by coronavirus as the pandemic continued to hit health professionals throughout the province due to non-compliance to standard operating procedures.

Infection rate among educational institutions and general population is also increasing compared to the last few days, according reports of the health department.

Sources told this scribe that the administration shut the surgical B ward at KTH on October 29 due to diagnosis of doctors, nurses and paramedics with coronavirus. They said that the virus was also infecting other staffers.

On Monday, eight more staffers of the gynae ward tested positive for Covid-19, prompting the head of the unit to ask the administration to strictly adopt the one-patient one attendant policy as the overcrowded conditions at the hospital were the prime cause of the spread of the virus.

The doctors said that situation in OPDs, wards and elsewhere in hospital was not unsatisfactory as far as prevention of the virus was concerned.

They said that it was not possible for the administration to refuse treatment to the people, especially those coming to gynae department, because they were emergency cases but there should be strict restrictions that one patient should accompany one attendant.

Sources said that even some health workers did not adhere to SOPs like observing social distancing, wearing face mask and washing hands that was also one of the reasons of growing infectivity among the health workers.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has recorded 8,436 cases among healthcare workers, the number in the country.

A report by World Health Organisation said that 2,512 health professionals including 1,080 doctors, 1,059 other workers and 373 nurses were infected by the virus since February when the pandemic started.

Mortality rate among health workers is also high as 21 people have died of the infection. The number is only second after Sindh where 34 health professionals have fallen prey to the infection.

The WHO’s plan to make KTH and Saidu Group of Hospitals centres of excellence for infection control and prevention should be enforced as health workers stay exposed to the virus.

The two hospitals, according to Islamabad-based experts of the world health agency, are supposed to be imparted training on how to stay away from the infection and keep the hospitals free of infection.

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