Saudi Arabia’s health ministry has given a leadership award to a Pakistani doctor,   Shahzad Ahmad Mumtaz, for his services as a team leader in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Arab News reported.

Speaking to Arab News, over the phone from Riyadh, Mumtaz said that the Kingdom’s health ministry, in recognition of his services as head of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the King Salman Hospital, had given him a leadership award and appreciation certificate on the country’s national day — September 23.

The Pakistani medic has been working in the Kingdom for the last 18 years and hails from Punjab’s Layyah.

“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 challenge posed by the pandemic,” he said.

Dr. Shahzad Ahmad Mumtaz, head of the Intensive Care Unit at the King Salman Hospital in Riyadh can be seen with his colleagues holding a certificate of appreciation on September 23, 2020. — Arab News

The medic said that he had been successful in mitigating the death rate of the ICU by at least 10% in the last five months owing to better team management and the use of modern technology.

“The mortality rate related to COVID-19 in international ICUs is around 30% since very critical patients are shifted to these units,” he said, adding that he had not taken a single leave and worked nearly 18-20 hours a day since he took charge.

“We received a lot of appreciation from the Saudi health ministry,” he said, adding: “It helped in the surgical treatment of general patients which was stopped due to the influx of COVID-19 patients.”

Saudi Arabia has registered more than 330,000 coronavirus infections and nearly 316,000 recoveries, with over 4,600 people succumbing to the disease.