Doctors, nurses demand PPE as five of their co-workers already got infected
While the healthcare professionals - doctors, nurses and interns - are crying out for personal protective equipment [PPE] to minimize their risk of coronavirus infection, the government is yet to take any action regarding the issue.
A health directorate official in Bangladesh said on Tuesday that they are still in the dark on the amount of PPEs required to tackle the crisis.
PPE is a protective gear designed to safeguard health workers in minimizing exposure to biological agents and is essential for healthcare workers who are directly involved in treating patients.
It includes goggles, face-shield, mask, gloves, coverall/gowns, head cover, and shoe cover.
Healthcare professionals in Bangladesh are raising their voices every day seeking more PPEs as five of their coworkers already got infected with Covid-19.
When asked about the preparation, Dr Supriya Sarkar, deputy program manager of the Hospital Services Management at Directorate General of Health Services [DGHS] told Dhaka Tribune, they are still assessing the demand and cannot come up with a figure right at this moment.
“We are prioritizing hospitals with higher needs while allocating PPEs. We are providing full sets of PPE for those who directly come in contact with patients for their treatment, while selected parts of the PPE is given to others,” said Dr Supriya.
Despite the fact that the government was still doing its assessment, Abdun Noor Tushar, adviser to Foundation for Doctors’ Safety and Rights, told Dhaka Tribune that there are around 90,000 doctors in Bangladesh who will need 5.1 million PPEs in three months.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday urged all to be aware of the proper use of PPE amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Being panicked over the coronavirus infection, people are wearing what they do not need. Everyone does not need to wear PPE…Only physicians, nurses, and attendants of patients need PPE,” she said.
In stock, delivered
Data compiled by Central Medical Stores Depot of DGHS shows it has so far supplied 334,270 PPEs to the healthcare professionals as of March 31 and has 42,870 more in stock.
“Jack Ma donated 300,000 masks to Bangladesh, but they have not yet been certified for use by our local experts. If we receive clearance on their use, it will reduce pressure from the rising demand of protective equipment,” said Dr Supriya Sarkar.
Healthcare professionals: At a glance
According to the DGHS, at present 78,300 health professionals are currently employed and have government facilities. Among them some 25,615 are doctors.
The MIS (Management Information System) 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, army institutions and NGOs.