• Saturday, May 30, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:47 pm

Healthcare professionals now face the coronavirus wrath

  • Published at 01:11 am March 29th, 2020
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So far, Bangladesh has reported 48 Covid-19 patients, including five healthcare professionals – three doctors and two nurses – who had been directly involved in treating patients

Healthcare professionals in Bangladesh are at high risk of coronavirus infection because of a lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), a protective gear designed to safeguard health workers to minimise exposure to biological agents.

As the number of positive cases infected with coronavirus rises in Bangladesh, so do demands from healthcare professionals --- nurses, doctors, and interns.

So far, Bangladesh has reported 48 Covid-19 patients, including five healthcare professionals – three doctors and two nurses – who had been directly involved in treating patients.

Seeking anonymity, several physicians presented a comparative scenario in the country, saying that 40 health professionals had been sent to home quarantine following three separate cases of Covid-19 positive patients. The three physicians among them later tested positive.

As of now, interns from three hospitals across Bangladesh have abstained from work demanding the necessary number of PPEs as they claimed they are putting themselves at risk while trying to identify and treat those infected with coronavirus.

A PPE includes goggles, face-shield, mask, gloves, coverall/gowns, head cover, and shoe cover. 

Dr Farhad Manjur, treasurer of Foundation for Doctors’ Safety and Rights and also linked with Dr MR Khan Shishu hospital and Institute of Child Health, said: “To help doctors during the outbreak, their protection should be the first priority. The doctors are forced to work without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).”

According to the Directorate General of Health Services, at present 78,300 health professionals are currently employed and have government facilities. Among them some 25,615 are doctors.

The MIS bulletin in 2018 said there are some 93,358 registered MBBS doctors in Bangladesh while the number of BDS registered doctors is 9,569.

As of March 31, 2019, Bangladesh has a total of 56,733 registered nurses and midwives, working in different positions at different government, private and army institutions and NGOs.

Little price went costlier

Several doctors said they had arranged full sets of PPE for Tk230 online in earlier times. But they could be used only once. A good quality set of PPE can be bought between Tk 1000  and Tk1200. But as the demand for PPE has risen throughout the world, the cost might go up and could cost around Tk1700 per set.”

Lack of coordination in case of collecting and distributing PPE

The health ministry and DGHS are the leading authorities to acquire PPEs. Besides, several ministries and local administrations are also acquiring PPEs from organizations affiliated or close to them.

Abdun Noor Tushar, adviser to Foundation for Doctors’ Safety and Rights, said : “There are around 90,000 doctors in Bangladesh and 5.1 million PPEs are needed for them. Till March 27, DGHS has distributed some 3,03,000 PPE kits in the districts as per demand.” 

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