Tuesday, May 21, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Covid-19: Government desperate to add more beds in hospitals outside Dhaka

Hospitals asked to inform the DGHS of their requirements to ensure proper treatment amid this pandemic

Update : 27 Jul 2021, 10:00 PM

Hospitals across Bangladesh, both government and private, are now overwhelmed with patients suffering from the deadly coronavirus disease. 

The recent upsurge in cases and fatalities has broken all previous records as the country battles a prolonged second wave of the pandemic.

The government, with the aim of widening the process of Covid treatment and better healthcare facilities, is desperately trying to increase the number of beds in the hospitals, especially those outside Dhaka.

The health authorities want to add more beds at every government hospital in the districts and divisional headquarters in order to cope with the increasing number of Covid patients. 

They have asked the hospitals to inform them of their requirements to ensure proper treatment.

Officials of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), seeking anonymity, said though the number of Covid patients outside the capital was rising alarmingly, it was not possible to increase healthcare facilities in the district-level hospitals overnight.

The authorities, however, are yet to finalize the exact number of beds that would be sent out to the district and divisional health headquarters. 

Also Read - Covid-19 Surge: Too many patients, not enough beds

Health Minister Zahid Maleque recently warned that hospitals would be overwhelmed with patients and there would be no bed left if the upward trend continued further.  

On Tuesday, the country once again recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll - 258 - while the day before, it reported the highest number of single-day cases – 15,192.

The test positivity rate, for the past few weeks, has remained between 25% and 30%. 

The latest figures took the number of overall fatalities to 19,779 while the caseload surged to 1,194,752.

In May, when cases and fatalities again started to soar, Rajshahi and Khulna divisions had the worst numbers, followed by Rangpur.

Just before Eid-ul-Fitr, Barisal and Sylhet emerged as the country’s new coronavirus hot spots.

The latest data trends indicate that the pandemic’s second wave is now heading towards Dhaka division. 

Need for more hospitals beds

As the districts around and nearby Dhaka city are now reporting an increasing number of Covid patients and deaths, the health authorities have established a 1,200-bed field hospital at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU). 

It is scheduled to go operational from next week.

Meanwhile, at a meeting on Saturday, the Bangladesh Private Medical Colleges Association (BPMCA) announced that it would be adding 2,000 more beds in the country’s Covid-dedicated establishments.

Also Read - Fatalities hit yet another high in Bangladesh as 258 die of Covid in a day

The DGHS officials, however, said that to help the general people suffering from the infectious disease, facilities needed to be increased in the government hospitals as Covid treatment is very expensive in the private ones.

Contacted by Dhaka Tribune, DGHS Director (Hospitals) Dr Farid Uddin Miah said: “We are focusing on improving health services at the country’s medical colleges and district hospitals. We have asked the district health authorities with higher infection rates to use any newly constructed building within their compound as field hospitals. 

“They can even take private hospitals on rent depending on available healthcare facilities.”

When asked about the exact number of beds that the government plans to add, he said: “We are yet to finalize the figure but will know for sure after the local health authorities submit their requirements to the Management Information System (MIS) unit of DGHS,” he added.

Situation outside Dhaka 

According to DGHS data, Sylhet division has the highest average infection rate – 41.99% – followed by Barisal division – 39.56%.

Meanwhile, in Rajshahi division, the infection rate in none of the districts has so far crossed the 30% mark. The test positivity rate in three districts is around or a little over the 10% mark.

In Khulna division, the average infection rate has come down to 26.31%. 

The latest figures indicate that the lockdown imposed in these divisions did help curb the steep rise in Covid cases. 

Meanwhile, the districts around or nearby Dhaka city are now showing an upward Covid trend.

Also Read - Covid-19 thrice as deadly in July than in June

As per DGHS data, an alarming number of samples are testing positive for Covid in Faridpur division 

On Monday, Faridpur district reported an infection rate of 37.38%. 

Test positivity rates in the nearby districts – Rajbari and Shariatpur –were recorded at 33.71% and 49.81% respectively.  

Meanwhile, Gazipur had the highest infection rate on Monday – 64.73%. It was 46.87% in Munshiganj, 40.61% in Narsingdi, and 21.81% in Narayanganj during the same period.

The infection rate in Comilla on Monday was 41.21% while it was 38.52% in Brahmanbaria, 39.59%, in Chandpur and 40.55% in Laxmipur. 

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