Tunisian hospitals are fighting the “tsunami” of COVID


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Tunisian hospitals are struggling to keep operating, as the number of people dying from COVID-19 spikes and bodies remains in the rooms for the funeral homes to operate at full capacity.

“Some patients have died without realizing it,” said Imen Fteiti, a nurse at Ibn Jazzar Hospital in the central city of Kairouan, one of the worst affected by the pandemic.

Some bodies of COVID victims have been lying in the rooms, along with other patients, for up to 24 hours because there were not enough staff to arrange their transfer to exaggerated funeral homes.

Tunisia has officially recorded more than 15,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic last year, with an increase in tolls in recent weeks.

More than 600 patients with COVID are in intensive care units across the country and authorities have set up field hospitals to deal with a crisis they have compared to a “tsunami”.

Doctors, nurses and non-governmental organizations have sounded the alarm especially for Kairouan, a marginalized region where intensive care beds and oxygen supply are lacking.

“We’ve gotten to a point where we don’t know who to help first,” Fteiti said.

In Kairouan, 5,500 liters (195 cubic feet) of oxygen are now needed to treat those affected by COVID compared to 400-500 liters two weeks ago before there was an increase in the number of cases, regional officials said. Health.

And there are only 45 beds in intensive care units at Kairouan hospitals, both private and public, and only 250 oxygen cylinders are available, they added.

Since June 20, authorities have imposed a total blockade on six regions of Tunisia, including Kairouan, as the number of COVID cases increased in the North African country.

The capital of Tunis has been partially closed since last week, with weekend closures from July 10 to avoid congestion on the beaches.

“Touch and go”

But the health situation in Kairouan, where 593,000 people live, is one of the worst and for health workers it has become a nightmare.

At Ibn Jazzar Hospital there are only three nurses for 35 patients with COVID.

“Our day starts very early in the morning and we never know when it will end,” Nurse Fteiti said.

The day begins with the care of incoming patients who have slept on the floors of the hospital corridors because there were no beds available when they arrived, he said.

Fteiti recalled a young woman whose mother had just died of COVID who asked her to check on her sick father. “Unfortunately, she also died,” the nurse said.

Health officials say the daily death toll from COVID in Kairouan has risen to 20, including children.

“We have had difficult days with full ICU beds,” said regional health official Mohamed Rouiss.

When the peak began last month, Kairouan patients could be transferred to other hospitals in the region.

“But now they’re full too,” he said.

Slah Soui, doctor of the second most important place in Kairouan Aghlabides, blames the situation of “recklessness” and people who do not respect the rules of hygiene, including social distancing.

But he also “has a severe lack of vaccination,” he said.

Tunisia has struggled with the lack of vaccines and launched its campaign in March, a month later than expected.

In the Kairouan region, only 95,000 people have been registered for vaccination and only half of them have received a first dose.

Across Tunisia, only four percent of the 12 million population has received full doses.

In June, the director of the Pasteur Institute in Tunis, Hechmi Louzir, told reporters that the country had only received 1.6 million doses of vaccine.

Tunis is partially blocked by cases of registered viruses

© 2021 AFP

Citation: Tunisian hospitals fight COVID “tsunami” (2021, July 6) recovered on July 6, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-tunisia-hospitals-struggle-covid- tsunami.html

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