Government of the Punjab, Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department has issued the summary for chief minister regarding smart sampling data analysis of Covid-19 patients, recommendations of technical working group and consequent lockdown adjustment.
The exponential spread of Covid-19 around the globe has become a real challenge for humanity. Decision makers, including those in Pakistan, are perplexed with the ambivalent nature of the virus. Although the Government of Punjab initiated its response to combat the virus at quite an early stage by sensitizing public about its severity, enhancing the testing capacity and strengthening its hospital capacity viz-a-viz bed strength yet numerous milestones on this count have to be envisioned, planned and achieved in the days to come.
Covid-19 has already been declared as a serious and imminent threat to public health requiring restriction on movement, gathering and business-linked activities. However, public health emergency also necessitates to strike a balance between the economic sustenance and prudent health interventions to save precious lives.
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In order to efficiency use the existing testing capacity and take informed decisions on the basis of prevalence of virus in selected population pockets in Punjab, a working group, consisting of consortium of epidemiologists, public health specialists, applied economists, statisticians and public policy specialists, was constituted (Annex-A) with the approval of “Cabinet Committee to Combat CoronaVirus Threat” vide minutes No. SO(EP&C)1-8/2020/12 dated 27-4-2020 (Annex-B).
The working Group was established to provide international perspective and input from the best minds in the field to conduct predictive analysis, impact analysis, provide technical input and determine disease prevalence and spread rates. Therefore, upon the directions of the Government of Punjab and technical assistance of the working group, the department initiated smart sampling project to detect and determine spread of Covid-19 and to structure and guide its response towards its containment.
This exercise ran in two parallel sampling cohorts;
(1). Randomized Targeted Sampling to determine the prevalence of the disease in those occupational sectors that remained functional during lockdown.
(2). Smart Sampling (SS) as advised by the Working Group through the ‘S’ Grid Strategy to understand its community spread.
With the results of both sampling exercises pouring in, a worrisome picture of the Covid-19 prevalence in the communities is emerging i.e. positively rate at 5.18% in RTS and 6.01% in SS (both by RT-PCR) respectively. Salient features of analysis made by the P&SHD team and averaging out results of both the strategies are as follows: