NDMA finishes construction of infectious disease centre

Officials say PM Imran Khan is expected to inaugurate the centre on May 5

Shabbir Hussain April 24, 2020

ISLAMABAD: With novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the federal capital soaring past 200, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has completed construction of the city’s first infectious diseases treatment centre.

The Express Tribune has learnt that the centre, completed in record time, will serve as a dedicated healthcare facility for Covid-19 patients.

Sources in NDMA said that the facility sprawls over 40 Kanals with nine blocks. It can house some 252 patients. Four of the blocks have been dedicated to male patients, while three have been allocated for women.

The centre, NDMA officials said, is expected to start functioning soon after it is inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 5.

The premier had laid the foundation for the dedicated healthcare facility on March 26 and the centre was due to be constructed by May 10. However, it has been completed with a fortnight to spare.

NDMA officials said that despite the speed at which the centre was built, they have adhered to all protection protocols required for a quarantine facility.

Designed as a facility to house and treat patients of extremely contagious diseases all of the doors in the building have been built with motion sensors who open them as soon as a person steps close enough.

Moreover, the building has been constructed such that it is completely airtight, to minimise the chances of any airborne contagion from the spread.

To manage operations at the new healthcare facility, four officials have been identified, including two from the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination and one each from the Federal Government Polyclinic Hospital and the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU).

An office order in this regard has already been issued by the health ministry.

Per the document, Polyclinic Assistant Executive Director (AED) Dr Abdul Wali Khan has been assigned the task of overseeing the administrative and financial affairs of the infectious disease centre.

From the health ministry, Director Inaamul Haq will be responsible for preparing project concepts (PC) I and II to further enhance the centre and its services. The health ministry’s Deputy Secretary Ghulam Mustafa will devise rules for recruiting staff at the centre. SZABMU Professor Dr Naseem Akhtar will manage human resources or the centre with assistance from Dr Abdul.

Contract staff

With a surge in Covid-19 patients in the federal capital, the health ministry has decided to hire health and allied professionals on contract at public hospitals and quarantine centres in the federal capital. These staffers will not only fill existing gaps but also help divide the additional patient load.

The ministry has constituted four recruitment committees, each comprising two-members, for every public healthcare facility. They have been directed to complete the recruitment process at the earliest.

A  notification issued by the federal health ministry on Thursday read that a panel comprising Polyclinic’s Executive Director Dr Naila Israr and Deputy Secretary Dr Saeed Ahmed will oversee hiring in their hospital.

For the largest tertiary care hospital in Islamabad, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), the facility’s Executive Director Dr Anser Maqsood and Administration Deputy Secretary Asghar Ali have been given this responsibility.

At the National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (NIRM), this task has been assigned to its executive director and Deputy Secretary Ghulam Mustafa. The Federal General Hospital (FGH) will hire contractual employees under the supervision of its executive director and deputy secretary.

A panel comprising Deputy Secretary Muhammad Iqbal and the district health officer (DHO) will induct contract employees in the district health office.

Apart from conducting interviews of eligible candidates, all four committees will also devise the working plans for these employees in their respective healthcare facilities.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2020.

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