Call to save people from mental sickness besides virus

Punjab University (PU) faculty members have called upon the government and other stakeholders to give hope to the people and avoid spreading “mental pandemic” while curbing coronavirus pandemic by creating fear among the masses because mental disease would be more dangerous than coronavirus.

They were speaking at a virtual conference on coronavirus organised by the Academic Staff Association of the university.

According to a press release, PU Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar said people must not fear coronavirus. However, he stressed, accurate information should be provided to the people so they could save themselves and others. He said people should also be guided how they could best use their time at home, otherwise, a healthy person became sick after staying at home for a week.

Prof Dr Hammad Lakhvi said there was a need to make efforts to find the cure for saving lives. “The world has witnessed epidemics and diseases far greater than COVID-19. Therefore, Muslims must keep their trust in Allah and it is enough to remove any negativity in their minds,” he said. Prof Dr Mumtaz Anwar proposed establishment of national taskforce incorporating experts from all the relevant fields so that a comprehensive strategy could be devised and implemented to combat COVID-19. Prof Dr Rubina Zakar said clear guidelines were available for home and hospital care of coronavirus patients. She said, “We should share these guidelines with the people for home treatment of patients because 70 per cent cases of COVID-19 could be treated at home.” Dr Rafia Rafique said the government must focus on mental health of the people while dealing with coronavirus, otherwise, mental disease would become more dangerous than COVID-19. She said more than 99 per cent population of the country was not victim of coronavirus, therefore, there was a need to create the ray of hope among the people. Dr Sohail Chand said that according to data pattern of COVID-19 in Pakistan, by the blessings of Allah, COVID-19 was not spreading at the pace that it should have spread otherwise. He said that people must be informed about such positive things.

Online course: Government College University (GCU) Lahore will work with Inter-University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Pakistan (IUCPSS) to introduce two-week online certificate course on public health and civic education for the university students. Talking to IUCPSS National Coordinator Murtaza Noor, GCU Vice-Chancellor Dr Asghar Zaidi appreciated the initiative and assured his utmost cooperation in effective delivery of the certificate course.

Being a social policy expert on population ageing, the VC accepted to be part of the working group and showed his consent to deliver lectures on how responses to disaster risk could be seen from the lens of care of elderly people. In particular, the VC mentioned the topic of how elderly people carry a higher risk of mortality from an epidemic like coronavirus.

The main objective of the course is to create awareness about public health issues especially viral diseases, including Covid-19, among students and how they could play their effective role as responsible citizens through various ways.