If there is a rise in critically ill patients as Covid-19 extends, ventilator supply could be short, and it will be a tough decision that who gets access to a ventilator and who does not.
With rising menace of coronavirus, the main element of mitigating strategy is the healthcare system of the country. This critically means the number of beds available for patients and the ventilator supply in intensive care units.
As Corona destroys the lung function of its victims, the only thing between life and death is a ventilator. It keeps the patient alive till the virus is overcome and lungs return back to decent function.
This is why countries around the world are mobilizing their industrial power to build ventilators on war footing. Car companies, SpaceX, Open Source Communities are coming together into a World War II like effort to meet the growing demand of ventilator supply.
In Pakistan ventilators are also going to be in short supply. According to health professionals, the current total national installed capacity is about 2500 – 2800 ventilators. Around 1775 in Punjab, 500-800 in Sindh, less than 50 in Baluchistan, and about 150 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Islamabad, which is the leading facility responsible for Islamabad residents and much of North of Pakistan, has only 86 ventilators. There is news that China is expected to provide 10,000 ventilators but even that is going be less.
Ventilator supply situation in Pakistan
During the surging numbers of coronavirus patients, Pakistan should plan for a caseload of approx. 200,000 or so in two months-time and 10 to 15 per cent may need ventilators. It is going to be a battle of life and death for hundreds of patients and we don’t know how long this will last!
Countries like China, Italy, Iran, and even Unites States since affected by coronavirus find it challenging to provide enough ventilators to support their healthcare system.
So that, the big question stands at, will there be enough ventilators to face the epidemic spread?
There is a dire need to be involved in some serious ventilator open-sourcing reverse-engineering efforts. This is not a time to make money of this opportunity or posture for market share. This is a time to roll up the sleeves and save lives in whatever capacity and way we can.
May Allah keep us all in his protection.