Nasal swab health workers pakistan
Health workers take a nasal swab sample during a testing and screening operation for the new coronavirus, in Hyderabad, Pakistan on Friday, June 26, 2020. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Health Services Academy has signed an agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to boost Pakistan’s COVID-19 response by supporting frontline health workers.

The comprehensive training programme is aimed at capacity development of at least 4,500 doctors and paramedical staff in critical care management of COVID-19 patients across the country in different hospitals and health care centres.

The training will be delivered in 150 batches and each batch will comprise of 30 participants.

Health professionals including medical officers, specialists, postgraduate trainees, nurses, and paramedics working in different capacities in intensive care units will be invited to join the programme.

The 10-day course involves pretest, distant learning through course material available via course book, presentation modules, video tutorials, physical training and other online reference material. The programme will conclude with an online post course test with certification.

To enable follow up and critical care supervision for the trainees afterwards, a 24/7 telemedicine support system will also be established.

The intensive care programme is based on the course outline developed by the University of Hong Kong in 2004 in response to SARS. The course has been updated in response to COVID-19 outbreak.

The Health Services Academy’s Vice Chancellor Dr. Assad Hafeez and ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang signed the contract agreement in Islamabad on Wednesday to strengthen Pakistan’s public health response by providing a national rapid critical care trainings programme.

As the COVID-19 pandemic poses a major health care challenge to Pakistani people and government, “the training programme being led by the Health Services Academy will help boost the critical care system’s efficiency and the capacity of the health workers in responding to the current emergency situation and future critical care needs,” said Yang.

The training programme is jointly funded by ADB and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) under the “Capacity Building of Disaster Management Institutions” project, which is co-financed by SDC with $1 million.