Indus Hospital and Health Network (IHHN) has been supporting the Government of Pakistan right from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus which is thought to have passed from animals to humans is so lethal that it has shaken even the strongest economic and healthcare systems of the world.
After the COVID-19 pandemic hit Pakistan, IHHN jumped into action with Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah including the Network in the provincial government’s anti-coronavirus campaign.
To help combat the pandemic, the Network helped the provincial government set-up two hospitals — one at Dumba Goth and the other at Gadap Town.
Under Indus Hospital and Health Network Laboratory & Blood Transfusion Services, tests of COVID-19 patients coming to the facilities are being conducted along with supporting the requirements of the Government of Sindh.
A 26-bed facility was also set-up at Indus Hospital and Health Network Korangi, Karachi, while the Emergency Department of the hospital was equipped (as per World Health Organization recommended protocols) to provide screening and treatment for potential COVID-19 patients.
A separate section within the Emergency Department was established to deal with suspected coronavirus patients and to avoid them mixing with non-COVID patients.
The Network started a mass public awareness campaign through all its digital platforms. Animated videos, flyers, standees, posters, and other patient education material were developed in both Urdu and English languages.
A comprehensive and all-encompassing policy was also devised to take actions to ensure the safety of the frontline healthcare workers and support staff, who were working tirelessly to screen and treat patients.
The Network is also ensuring regular screening of all staff coming to work is being conducted in all of its healthcare facilities across the Network. Alongside the pandemic, the Network is also continuing with its regular healthcare services — absolutely free to the under-served members of the nation.
Read more about IHHN’s response to COVID-19
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause respiratory illness in humans. They get their name, ‘corona’ from the many crown-like spikes on the surface of the virus. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and the common cold are examples of coronaviruses that cause illness in humans.
The new strain of coronavirus, COVID-19, was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has since then spread across the globe. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
- From infected droplets of the person who has coughed or sneezed near you (within six feet).
- From close contact (touching, shaking hands) with an infected person.
- By touching surfaces that the virus has landed on, then touching your eyes, mouth, or nose before washing your hands.
- COVID-19 enters your body through your mouth, nose or eyes (directly from the airborne droplets or from transfer of the virus from your hands to your face). The virus travels to the back of your nasal passages and mucous membrane in the back of your throat. It attaches to cells there, begins to multiply and moves into lung tissue. From there, the virus can spread to other body tissues.
- People who live in or have recently traveled to any area with ongoing active spread.
- People who have had close contact with a person who has a laboratory-confirmed or a suspected case of the COVID-19 virus.
- People over age 60 who have pre-existing medical conditions or a weakened immune system.
- Fever (not always present)
- Difficulty breathing/Shortness of breath
Other possible coronavirus symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Sore throat
- Body aches
Symptoms can range in severity from very mild to severe. In about 80% of patients, COVID-19 causes only mild symptoms. Symptoms can appear within 2 – 14 days after being exposed to the virus
- Feel sick with fever, cough or have difficulty breathing
- Have been in close contact with a person known or suspected to have COVID-19
- Live in or recently traveled from an area with ongoing active spread or for which there are travel alerts
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds— especially before eating and preparing food, after using the bathroom, after wiping your nose, and after coming in contact with someone who has a cold.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent the spread of viruses from your hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing and coughing or sneeze and cough into your sleeve. Throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands afterward. Never cough or sneeze into your hands!
- Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with those who have coughs, colds or are sick. Stay home if you are sick.
- If you are prone to sickness or have a weakened immune system, stay away from large crowds of people. Follow the directions of your healthcare authorities especially during outbreaks.
- Clean frequently used surfaces (such as doorknobs and counter tops) with a virus-killing disinfectant.
- Use hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid shaking hands while greeting people. Instead, use lower-risk gestures such as elbow bumps, foot bumps, etc.
- Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of liquids and exercise if you are able. These steps will strengthen your immune system and enable you to fight off infections easier.
Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of persons who may have been exposed to a prospective coronavirus carrier. These people may have been exposed to the infection and do not know it, or they may have the infection but do not show any symptoms. The quarantine can also help limit the spread of the infection. If you are returning from any country, you must self-isolate (stay at home) for 14 days. Self-isolation is an effective precautionary measure to protect those around you from contracting coronavirus:
- You can live with others during the 14 days, but you need to avoid close contact with them.
- Don’t share beds, linen or food.
- If possible, remain in a well-ventilated room.
- Keep the doors shut.
- Keep your toiletries separate.
- If you share bathroom with others, use it after everyone has used it.
- Ask friends or family to drop off anything you need or order supplies online.
- Keep in touch with others over the phone or internet.
- Do physical exercise to remain healthy.
- Don’t use public transport or taxis during self-isolation.