ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani doctor has been recognized by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health for his services as a team leader in the Kingdom’s fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“In recognition of my services as head of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the King Salman Hospital, I was given a leadership award and an appreciation certificate by the Saudi health ministry,” Dr. Shahzad Ahmad Mumtaz told Arab News during a phone interview from Riyadh on Saturday. He was presented with the award during a ceremony to mark Saudi National Day on Sept. 23.
Hailing from Layyah, a small city in southern Punjab, Mumtaz has been working in Saudi Arabia for the last 18 years. Before his appointment at the King Salman Hospital, he worked as a director at the King Saud Medical City. He also served as an ICU head at Al-Noor Specialist Hospital, Makkah, and Jabal Al-Rahmah Hospital, Arafat.
“At the outset of the pandemic, the COVID-19 mortality rate was very high at the King Salman Hospital. That is the reason why I was brought here as the ICU head — to increase the hospital’s capacity to deal with the challenges posed by the pandemic,” he said.
Mumtaz said that he succeeded in bringing down these deaths by 10 percent during the last five months, due to better team management and greater use of modern techniques and technology.
“The mortality rate related to COVID-19 in international ICUs is around 30 percent, since very critical patients are shifted to these units. The ICU at the King Salman Hospital has remained under 10 percent during the last five months,” he said.
“During all this time, I have not taken a single leave and have worked for 18-20 hours a day,” he continued.
“After joining, I immediately expanded the ICU from 14 to 60 beds. We used the helmet technology that is mostly preferred in Spain and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, which is recommended by Americans. They both produced impressive results in our hospital during the pandemic,” he said.
Mumtaz said that the King Salman Hospital was converted into a non-COVID-19, green hospital on Sept. 1.
“We received a lot of appreciation from the Saudi health ministry,” he added.
“It helped in the surgical treatment of general patients, which had to be stopped due to the influx of COVID-19 patients.”
The Kingdom recorded a significant drop in COVID-19 cases and related deaths in the last few days. The total number of recoveries in Saudi Arabia increased to 315,636 after 843 more patients recently recovered from the virus.
Meanwhile, 4,625 people have also succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.