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Dhaka Tribune

Diarrhoea patients increasing

Update : 10 Apr 2014, 09:59 PM

The number of diarrhoea patients in Dhaka has seen a huge spike in recent days, with at least fifteen people reportedly dying from diarrhoeal diseases during the past five weeks alone.

The Dhaka Tribune has learned that 10 patients died in March, while five more died during the first nine days of April. Sources said all these diarrhoea patients had already died when they were brought to the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease and Research Bangladesh (ICDDRB).

The lack of awareness among the patients’ relatives allegedly failed to ensure timely treatment, which could have saved lives, health officials said.

Dr Azharul Islam Khan, chief physician and head of diarrhoeal diseases unit of the ICDDRB Hospital, told the Dhaka Tribune that no patient had died at the hospital, but admitted that some patients had been brought to the ICDDRB after they had already died on the way to the hospital.

At least fifteen patients were brought in dead in the last 40 days, he added.

As a precaution, Dr Azharul recommended people to take oral saline as soon as identifying diarrhoeal symptoms. If saline fails to improve the patient’s condition, they must be taken to the nearest hospital without wasting any time, he added.

ICDDRB sources said the number of diarrhoea patients has suddenly increased in the capital, while there were concerns that the number might rise.

Although the average number of patients receiving daily treatment at the ICDDRB stood at around 400 last month, the hospital had 722 patients admitted on April 9 – the highest recorded so far this year.

In 2013, the highest number of daily admitted patients was 587.

Among the total patients this year, around 55% were adult and the rest were children. Around 25% the diarrhoeal disease patients suffered from cholera.

Professor Dr Mahmudur Rahman, director of Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), told the Dhaka Tribune that the number of cholera patients was increasing for various reasons including climate change, water contamination, lack of personal hygiene and awareness.

According to the national crisis management centre of the health directorate, the average number of patients at the ICDDRB during the first nine days of the month was 581. There are claims that the health directorate had failed to take necessary initiatives to create mass awareness, as well as failing to hold a regular joint meeting with Dhaka Wasa this year.

Visiting the ICDDRB hospital yesterday, the Dhaka Tribune found that hospital authority were providing treatment to patients in extended tents to cope up with the added pressure of patients.

Dr Azharul said the number of diarrhoea patients suddenly increased this year, after experiencing downward trends in the past couple of years.

The government should look into the quality of drinking water, he added. 

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