The family of only one doctor, out of the 145 who have died of Covid-19 so far, has received compensation
The death toll among the physicians, or the first responders of the Covid-19 outbreak, is on the rise again.
From April 2 to April 16, at least 11 doctors died of Covid-19-related complications. The number was only four in January, two in February and three in March.
From March to December last year, the number of doctors died because of Covid-19 was 125, according to Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA).
The first doctor died of Covid-19 in April last year and 12 died in May. The number rose to 45 in June, which is the highest number of Covid-19 deaths among doctors in one month. The fatalities then started decreasing.
The deaths of doctors have escalated since late March, when the number of infections and deaths among people rose significantly, forcing the government to enforce lockdown to contain the spread.
BMA General Secretary Ehteshamul Huq Choudhury said: “The transmission of coronavirus is increasing, which is why more doctors are getting affected as we are the frontliners.”
He thinks that more doctors may become infected even though they are aware of the safety guidelines “because the mass people, especially the patients, do not follow the rules.”
At present, the Covid-19 detection rate is 22% in Bangladesh. It is much higher in Dhaka city.
"Every day, two types of people come to the hospitals – patients with Covid-19 infection and those with non-Covid diseases. Surprisingly, 20-25% of the patients who see doctors with non-Covid issues are actually infected by Covid and they do not any symptoms," Ehteshamul added.
According to the BMA, nearly 3,000 doctors have so far fallen sick after contracting Covid-19 across the country as of April 15.
The number of infected nurses is almost 2,000 and healthcare workers is almost 3,300.
Dr Moyeen Uddin, assistant professor of Sylhet Medical College, died of Covid-19 on April 15 last year. It was the first death among doctors in Bangladesh. His family received Tk50 lakh as compensation while the other deceased doctors did not get anything from the government as per the prime minister’s declaration.
Ehteshamul said: “The Finance Ministry is not giving any compensation [to the families of the doctors who died of Covid-19]. It is a complete callousness or careless behaviour.”