The government of Saudi Arabia has presented a leadership award to a Pakistani doctor for his services to the kingdom during the coronavirus pandemic. The Pakistani doctor led a team of doctors that treated the patients of coronavirus in the kingdom, reported Arab News last week.
Dr. Shahzad Ahmad Mumtaz, the recipient of the award, is the head of the Intensive Care Unit at King Salman Hospital in Riyadh. The Saudi Health Ministry honoured him with an award on the country’s National Day on 23 September.
“In recognition of my services as head of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at King Salman Hospital, I was given a leadership award and appreciation certificate by the Saudi Health Ministry,” said Mumtaz in an interview with Arab News.
He added he received his award in a ceremony organised in the hospital on National Day. Mumtaz hails from Layyah, a small town in Punjab, and has been working in the kingdom for the past 18 years. He even served as a director at the King Saud Medical City.
“At the outset of the pandemic, the COVID-19 mortality rate was very high at 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 challenge posed by the pandemic,” he remarked during his interview with the Arab publication.
“The mortality rate related to COVID-19 in international ICUs is around 30% since very critical patients are shifted to these units. The ICU at King Salman Hospital has remained under 10% during the last five months,” he underlined.
Dr. Zia Ullah Khan Dawar, a senior Pakistani health professional, is working as Public Health Specialist, Ministry of Health Jeddah and is contributing to countering coronavirus in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by designing a robust monitoring and active surveillance system to fight COVID-19. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Zia Dawar has remained involved from the beginning and has volunteered himself to save precious lives by putting himself at risk.
He was member of the team deputed to establish the first quarantine centre for international travellers in the holy city of Makkah. On successful accomplishment of this assignment, this model was replicated in Jeddah whereby 37 such centres were established. He has been given assignment in the MoH COVID-19 Control and Command Centre Jeddah where he is rendering effective services by leading a mobile team there. In recognition of his services, the Ministry of Health, KSA, has awarded him with a ‘Captain of COVID-19 Team’ Medal.
Both awards are not only recognition of individuals but also a moment of pride for KSA-Pak relations. Awards are also a testimony of standards of medical professionals trained and related education in Pakistan.
The current awards give strength to the confidence of Gulf states on Pakistani medical professionals. Due to COVID, almost 300 Pakistani professionals who were stuck in Pakistan have returned after KSA facilitated their return. Many Pakistani doctors and medical staff are working tirelessly in KSA since the beginning of the pandemic and constitute the backbone of the Kingdom’s response to COVID. The successful response of Pakistan to the pandemic has been appreciated by the world and UN. This has also enhanced confidence of Gulf and other states in Pakistan in relation to health education, training system and individual proficiencies.
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