It has been more than six months since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the arrival of a new virus a global emergency. Since then the
world, and our lives, have changed profoundly.
While many countries may seem to have fought well enough to contain the effects of the virus,
several countries are still struggling. With the world still battling the corona virus pandemic, it should be no news that the virus is still out there. And while the question “how are we faring in this battle between the human race and the coronavirus?”
may still be baffling thousands of minds across the world, Pakistan has already declared themselves winners!! The smugness over Pakistan being fortunate, unlike the other unfortunate countries, was also a home run. It was as if there was no tomorrow
for the pandemic. But then, Covid-19 made a comeback and now people are once again looking at the government for answers. Just when Pakistan had started basking in the glory of their success for controlling the pandemic, there happened the unfortunate incident
where 6 people in the COVID ward of a hospital lost their lives due to lack of oxygen supply.
In the last two months, Pakistan has witnessed
a spike in infections with more than 400,000 reported cases of coronavirus. On 2 December, the country recorded 75 deaths, which
is the highest number of single-day fatalities since July. The positivity rate is now up at 8.04 per
cent in the second wave of the pandemic. Pakistan recorded the highest single-day COVID-19 death toll in 5 months. The corona positive rate has shot up to 8.58 percent with the highest COVID-19 prevalence observed in Karachi as 21.80 percent of the PCR tests
conducted in the past 24 hours detected SARS-CoV-2. Major government and private hospitals in Peshawar have run out of beds for coronavirus patients due to a surge in cases. The spike and the fatality rate is a cause of concern for the Imran Khan government.
As soon as the incident took place a preliminary inquiry was ordered. And like pieces of a falling Jenga, the truth came crashing down, taking down everyone
from the top management to the smallest player of the game. According to the preliminary report, the on-duty manager of services line received a call from the hospital’s operation theatre regarding low oxygen pressure and then called the oxygen plant’s
manager, who did not receive his phone, after which the former visited the plant in person and found that the two officials, who were supposed to be on duty, were absent. Just like a missing stable government. The oxygen plant pressure at that moment was zero.
Just like the future of Pakistan.
And then started the blame game train. According to the services line manager, the oxygen plant assistant
“failed to perform his duty as he is responsible for the oxygen plant and has a liaison with the supplier”. In its other findings, the committee found that even though the oxygen tank had a capacity of 10,000 cubic metres, the supplier Ms Pakistan
Oxygen Limited never filled the tank to the required level. On December 4, for example, the company only supplied 3,040 cubic metres of oxygen. The report, quoting the supply chain manager, also says that the contract with Ms Pakistan Oxygen Ltd had expired
in 2017 and was renewed until June 30 of this year. No document of a renewal agreement was provided to the committee.
The committee also found
that the staff appointed to work with the plant lacked technical expertise. The hospital’s biomedical engineer and his team failed to train the staff and did not maintain this important lifesaving equipment.
And just like every other story in Pakistan, conveniently the blame was put collectively on lack of training of staff, no backup, supply and emergency squad, while no one really took
the blame for the incident. And all that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra had to say was “It should have been detected earlier”. Instead of finding out who was responsible behind this flap, Mr Jhagra did what everyone in Pakistan
does best- shrug their responsibility. No wonder Twitter was raging with demands for his resignation, but Pakistan being Pakistan, that would soon be forgotten too.