This was not a recent accusation made by the relatives of such patients
As a fear is growing about what happens if community transmission takes off in Bangladesh, many patients having symptoms of the Covid-19 could not get access to the health care facilities, even if one could manage to enter the medical centers, but was later denied by the authorities.
This was not a recent accusation made by the relatives of such patients. It all started even before the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed by the health authorities in the country.
Dr Meerjadi Sabrina Flora, director of Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), on several occasion said that they have already instituted a standard operating procedure and they are working on how to ensure the medical doctors and frontline healthcare givers are performing their duties with a sense of accountability and professionalism.
To help countries navigate through the coronavirus challenges, the World Health Organization (WHO) has updated operational planning guidelines in balancing the demands of responding directly to Covid-19 while maintaining essential health service delivery, and mitigating the risk of system collapse.
How problem arises
On January 30, the Ministry of Health, has instructed hospitals to open isolated wards and train health care professionals for Covid-19 patients, nonetheless, till mid March the directive was not followed consistently.
A number of medical doctors said in the face of a possible quarantine many patients decide to conceal their travel history. Physicians also allege that they were to provide treatment without personal protective equipment (PPE) which exposes them to the coronavirus.
Against this backdrop, frontline health care professionals are apprehensive about the current pandemic situation or working unwillingly as they have to provide the services. The nature of the job puts health care workers at an increased risk of catching any communicable disease, including COVID-19.
Dr Helal Uddin Ahmed, associate professor of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), said it would be unfair if it is said that physicians or the health care professionals are trying to avoid treating patients.
"A sense of insecurity and a lack of confidence among doctors were apparent in the situation,” he added.
Although the government health authorities are claiming to provide PPEs, whereas, it is true that the authorities concerned could not tackle the outbreak as it should be, Dr Helal observed.
Bangladesh lags in testing has made it harder to diagnose patients with COVID-19, putting nurses and doctors at risk.
Government to hold meeting over healthcare professional
IEDCR Director Meerjadi Sabrina Flora on Tuesday said that they have collected samples from the deceased persons who had corona-like symptoms, however, none of them were found to have died from Covid-19 infection.
Dr Aminul Hasan, director (hospital) of Directorate General of Health services (DGHS), also the focal person of the hospital and patient group under the integrated control room of DGHS, said they have supplied necessary PPEs to the health care professionals.
He said health authorities concerned are also looking into allegations over lack of professionalism among frontline healthcare giver and added that a meeting is scheduled on Wednesday in the presence of the health minister to address the situation.
"We have to motivate our medical doctors, nurses and all other medical staff to ensure their dedication and commitment for patients,” he added.
DGHS urged the private medical practitioners to continue their services at the private hospitals by taking all protective measures, so that general people could access the essential services.