Bushra Mehsud

WANA: Several people having different diseases are not going to government hospitals to consult doctors nowadays because they fear they might end up in quarantine centre of coronavirus patients.

“I have pain in the back and some other health problems, but I fear that if I went to hospital, they will lock me up in the quarantine centre for coronavirus patients,” said Zenab Mehsud from South Waziristan.

She said she has seen some people with no symptoms, but their coronavirus tests have come back as positive. She said this fear is stopping her from visiting the hospital.

Zenab said treatment at private clinics is beyond the reach of the poor people because tests at private laboratories and medicines costs are not affordable. She said her back problem is worsening and she is also slowly going into depression, but her well wishers are advising her against visiting the government hospital.

Fatima, a social activist, said while talking to TNN that many patients are staying away from government hospitals because they fear contracting coronavirus there. She said many people have gone into depression and despite having severe blood pressure and heart problem, they still don’t go to hospital.

She said people have also stopped visiting government hospitals due to closure of out-patient departments (OPDs) and some hospitals have been converted into coronavirus treatment centres. She said she knows a heart patient from South Waziristan who was getting regular treatment from Combined Military Hospital (CMH), but he can’t go there due to restrictions. She said the patient is facing difficulties as he can’t get his medicines in his area.

Deputy District Health Officer Dr Wali Rehman said the duties of health staff have become more difficult after outbreak of the pandemic. He said hospitals are providing facilities to patients despite limited resources. He said OPDs in South Waziristan are fully functional now.

Dr Wali said government hospitals are facing negative propaganda. He said doctors and other health staff have put their own lives in danger, but they are continuously serving the people.

Kulsoom, a schoolteacher from Dera Ismail Khan, said coronavirus patients must be treated with care and they must not be mistreated. She said corona patients need support and attention of people to come out of difficult situation.

South Waziristan has reported very few coronavirus cases the main reason of which is that people don’t go for tests despite showing symptoms.