National Survey To Ascertain Nature And Dynamics Of COVID-19 in Pakistan Starts

Three leading Pakistani organizations and institutions have launched a national survey to ascertain the nature and dynamics of COVIC-19 in Pakistan, prevalence of comorbidities among people infected with Coronavirus and to ascertain types of symptoms experienced by the patients to help authorities in taking appropriate decisions to curb the pandemic in Pakistan.

“At the moment, COVID-19 cases are decreasing in Pakistan but at the same time, people are not getting themselves selves tested for the viral infection.

This disease is behaving very differently around the globe and in order to understand its dynamics and nature in Pakistan, a national survey has jointly been launched by the Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA), National Institute of Health (NIH) and Health Research Advisory Board (HealthRab)”, said Prof. Abdul Basit, an eminent diabetologist and Vice Chairman HealthRab told a news conference in Karachi on Wednesday.

Accompanied by Dr. Zakiuddin Ahmed, General Secretary HealthRab, the news conference was also addressed online by President PIMA Dr. Afzal Mian, Dr. Mumtaz Ali Khan National Focal Person at NIH, Dr. Naveed Butt and Dr. Amtullah Zareen from PIMA Women Wing, Prof. Abdul Basit said the survey planned by them is aimed at understanding symptomatology of this disease in relation to age, gender, and comorbidities and the course of disease with its complications.

“In addition to that, we would also like to ascertain the psychological impact of the disease on various age groups and the ultimate outcomes of the disease”, Prof. Abdul Basit said adding that at the moment.

All the data available to Pakistani authorities and physicians is from other countries including West and China but little is known about the nature and behavior of novel Coronavirus in Pakistan.

Prof. Abdul Basit maintained that global data indicates that COVID-19 is actually a disease of vascular system and those suffering from hypertension are more likely to contract the disease as compared to people with respiratory illnesses.

“People with hypertension and Type 2 Diabetes are more prone to contract Coronavirus as compared to people with Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) while people with respiratory illnesses are least affected by the COVID-19 globally.

In order to understand the behavior of disease, we have launched this survey in Pakistan during which, we would be questioning people who have been tested for COVID-19 in the country”, he added.

He further informed that people with Type 1 Diabetes were least affected with COVID-19 in the world while mortality among these patients was negligible. “But all this data is from other countries of the world so we have launched our own data to understand the behavior and dynamics of the disease in Pakistan”, Prof. Abdul Basit added.

NIH official Dr. Mumtaz Ali Khan claimed that number of positive cases have started dropping from the first week of July in Pakistan but on the other hand, people have stopped getting themselves tested for the COVID-19 which is a cause of concern for authorities as now people have started taking the pandemic lightly.

“The change in people’s behavior especially around Eid-ul-Azha and in the coming months can result in a second wave of the disease in Pakistan”, Dr. Mumtaz Ali Khan from NIH said and adding urged people remain cautious and alert as this disease is going to stay for a long period in our society.

General Secretary HealthRab Dr. Zakiuddin Ahmed told that around 2200 people who have been tested for COVID-19 would be interviewed online as per international requirements to collect national data and added that results of the survey and its analysis would be shared with the authorities including the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) to help the policy makers in taking decisions for the country.

He also spoke about the use of technology, especially the role of telemedicine to help COVID-19 patients and said that this survey would also help in understanding the importance of technology in healthcare so that it could further be improved to help patients in Pakistan, especially those living in far flung areas of the country.

Prof. Afzal Mian President PIMA who stressed the importance of research during the pandemic, and said that since the outbreak, thousands of researches have been conducted to understand and control the spread of this virus.

“There is much about this pandemic that is still unknown and a lot of research is required to fully understand the behavior of this virus”, he said adding that people should take all the precautionary measures on Eid-ul-Azha and should not repeat the mistakes committed on Eid-ul-Fitr, during which thousands of people contracted the disease in few days. He appreciated PIMA, Healthab, and NIH for their efforts in launching this survey.

Dr. Naveed Butt, Member, Central Executive Body, PIMA Women Wing and Prof. Amtullah Zarreen Ex-President, PIMA and Member, Central Executive Body, PIMA Women Wing discussed the association of COVID-19 with pregnancy.

Originally published at Business Recorder