• Wednesday, May 27, 2020
  • Last Update : 11:38 pm

Coronavirus Infodemic Expert suggests listening to only health professionals

  • Published at 09:15 pm April 7th, 2020
A health worker in a protective gown checks a man for signs of the novel coronavirus infection Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

We need to create awareness-raising messages in digital form that can easily be understood by common people, he says

Dr. Shafi Bhuiyan, an internationally-recognized leader in global public health and education initiative, has suggested that people listen to health professionals only, as confusing messages from unlimited sources are flooding the public domain amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

"We must listen to health professionals both at home and abroad; others should not talk too much about COVID-19 issues," Dr Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh-origin health professional in Canada, said on Tuesday.

He said Bangladesh could ensure the best utilization of the existing countrywide health infrastructure by keeping health complexes up to upazila level prepared to deal with the situation as nobody knows how far it might go in Bangladesh, reports UNB. 

"We have a great health infrastructure across Bangladesh up to the upazila level. This must be utilized with required testing and treatment facilities if the situation demands," said Dr Bhuiyan, who has founded a program at Ryerson University's Chang School of Continuing Education that prepares internationally-trained doctors for non-licensed work in Canada's health sector.

Meanwhile, the government has decided to provide incentives for doctors, nurses, health workers and other employees of the republic who have deployed themselves with bravery in the war against COVID-19.

"I want to reward those who have been engaged directly in the fight against COVID-19 since March," said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday.

Dr Bhuiyan said there had been significant development in Bangladesh's ICT sector which needed to be utilized properly at this difficult time. "We need to create awareness-raising messages in digital form that can easily be understood by common people, even everyone in remote areas," said Dr Bhuiyan.

He said mobile phone operators could generate easily understandable messages so that they reached all  mobile phone subscribers in Bangladesh. 

For example, he said, subscribers will receive automatic calls every hour, and upon receiving the call, subscribers will hear awareness messages, including the latest government directives.

"This is a new crisis, all must accept it as normal," said the health professional, who is currently monitoring the evolving situation across the world. 

Now mobile phone subscribers in Bangladesh hear a recorded message before a phone call gets connected with the receiver of the call. 

Talking about mental health at this stressful moment, Dr Bhuiyan said mental health was extremely important, too. "Spending time with families is crucial to stay cheerful instead of getting stressed."

Dr. Bhuiyan, who holds a position at Ryerson as Distinguished Visiting Professor, said lessons needed to be learned from other countries while dealing with coronavirus issues. 

"We know this virus may last for 14 weeks to be at its peak anywhere in the world, and the situation may be prolonged," said the health expert, who has been living abroad since 2001.

He also laid emphasis on encouraging young people to engage themselves in volunteering.

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