The world needs to remember and respect the heroes that we have lost in our fight against coronavirus. The brave doctors putting their lives on the lines have no reward to look up to- except maybe a life after the coronavirus pandemic. But this doesn’t scare them, as it is their duty to treat the patients that come before them- even if it puts their life in jeopardy. Dr. Usama Riaz from Pakistan is one of them. This brave 26-year-old doctor fought with his patients until the very last minute, before dying from the virus himself.
While Pakistan celebrates this hero, it is prudent that the entire world knows and remembers his name. This doctor was a part of the team that was sent to screen and treat pilgrims who had returned from their pilgrimage to Iran and other Middle East countries. After the diagnosis, he ended up treating them at several isolated locations around Gilit-which is in Kashmir.
This is Dr. Usama Riaz. He spent past weeks screening and treating patients with Corona Virus in Pakistan.
He knew there was no PPE. He persisted anyways.
Today he lost his own battle with coronavirus but he gave life and hope to so many more.
KNOW HIS NAME 😭❤ pic.twitter.com/flSwhLCPmx
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) March 23, 2020
But lack of gear resulted in the martyrdom of this brave warrior. And it would be a great injustice to this doctor, his family, and Pakistan if he were not spoken about with pride everywhere. Rest in peace, Dr. Usama Riaz.
The Gilgit Baltistan government expressed their condolences at the passing away of this brave doctor who fought tooth and nail to prevent an outbreak in that region. The Information Minister of the region – Minister Shams Mir proclaimed that Dr. Usama Riaz would be honored as a national hero for his battle against the pandemic. He was a true hero, and people need to be made aware of that.
In his glorious fight against the disease, Dr. Usama Riaz knew that time was running out of his hands. He didn’t have access to protective gear, which resulted in his contracting the disease. But that didn’t deter him from working late hours, trying to protect as many patients as he could.
At present, there are around a thousand cases of COVID 19 in Pakistan which is expected to triple in the upcoming weeks. Most doctors and scientists are of the opinion that Pakistan may soon become the epicenter of this disease due to its underdeveloped health care.
Dr. Shamail Daud was seen talking to Al-Jazeera about the disintegrating and low stature of healthcare in the country which would not be suitable or capable to treat critical patients in large numbers.
The doctor further mentioned that the government was being requested to send in more and more protective equipment because there was no point treating the patients if they themselves contracted the disease. It would literally be suicide. Dr. Asfandyar Khan of PIMS, Islamabad spoke about how most developed countries had a suitable podium to wage their war against COVID-19. But Pakistan wasn’t on that stage as of now.
National Hero Dr. Usama Riaz has been laid to rest in Gilgit with state honour.Dr Usama Riaz has lost his life while fighting against #Coronavirus Gilgit-Baltistan govt designated Dr. Usama as a national hero for playing his role on the front-line of the battle #COVIDIOTS pic.twitter.com/HIjqF0Z38i
— Rohshan Din 💙 (@Rohshan_Din) March 23, 2020
The chief of National Disaster Management in Pakistan Lt. Gen. Muhammad Afzal announced that the government was looking into procuring at least 12,000 units of protective gear for the doctors. Along with that, they also have to look into the problems of ventilators. As of now, Pakistan barely has 2500 ventilators in the whole country. And the government has given orders for 800 more.
Not taking anything away from the sheer bravery and dedication that Dr. Usama Riaz showed, but the Government of Pakistan should have taken a better and swifter step to curb the roots of this problem before it seeped into every segment of the society.