Pakistan is ranked 29th in the world in terms of death from corona pandemic, where total deaths stands at 673. Moreover, in Asia, Pakistan has been ranked eighth in terms of number of deaths from the virus. The fatality rate from novel coronavirus in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is higher than the rest of the country as the province has reported 245 deaths out of total deaths in Pakistan. The nationwide Covid-19 fatality rate is only 2.3pc but in KP, it is about 6 percent. The provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa became the country’s second district after Karachi to surpass 100 deaths from novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
Situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa especially in Peshawar has become quite alarming as 10 patients died of coronavirus in a day, the largest number of people who died in a single day from the disease in the country since outbreak of the COVID-19.
According to the experts, there can be various reasons for the province’s high fatality rate from COVID-19. One of the reason might be, that currently KP is conducting very limited number of tests and there is a possibility that a large number of corona patients goes unnoticed. Moreover, according to physicians, recorded coronavirus death rate is elevated due to not following proper protocols for case identification. The asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic cases aren’t tested in the province. KP has a population of 35million, but only 20,625 tests have been conducted so far. Suspected cases were sent home after doctors took samples and until results were received, the patients got serious and reached critical condition.
Officials at the health department, however, said it was due to the best practices that the province had conducted lesser tests according to the WHO’s guidelines. The deaths are mostly attributed to old age and travel history to endemic countries. There is no laxity on part of the government and medical department.
According to Minister of Health and Finance, Mr. Jhagra, there has been a lot of conjecture about higher fatality rates in KP versus the rest of the country. However, “Given different reporting methods for deaths and limited levels of testing, fatality rates computed for any province in Pakistan are flawed statistics,”.
Another major reason for COVID-19 deaths in KP may be false reporting for securing monitory benefits announced by government for COVID-19 deceased families. As per various reports hospitals staff and deceased families are faking normal deaths as COVID-19 deaths in order to secure rupees 0.5million grant announced by government.
The government needs to seriously investigate the reasons of high fatality rate and address any gaps in response measures in order to bring down the death rate at least at par with other regions in Pakistan. Though, the government has scaled up the province’s testing capacity for coronavirus to around 1,500 per day during the last 45 days and efforts are afoot to double it in the next few days. There is a need to take a wholesome approach towards the issue to arrest this alarming trend of high death ratio.