Fewer healthcare professionals contracting coronavirus
As June arrives and the government eases the countrywide lockdown, it appears the health authorities have managed a stable and reliable supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Ensuring the supply of PPE to healthcare professionals still remains a widely discussed topic as hundreds of doctors throughout the country contracted coronavirus in the course of providing health services in March and April, even though the government started supplying PPEs from March 13.
Several doctors at both Covid-19 dedicated and other hospitals said, despite the concerned authorities not having an abundant stock of PPEs, they are now getting the required protective gear as and when needed.
Bangladesh Medical Association Secretary General Dr Ehteshamul Haque Chowdhury said, even though the authorities were late in taking the initiative, doctors and other hospital staff are now getting the required PPEs. This has translated to a decline in coronavirus infections among healthcare professionals in recent times.
Earlier, there were questions about the quality of PPEs, but doctors are now at least getting the minimum required quality of PPEs to allow them to continue working safely, he added.
However, the doctors need to be trained on how to wear and dispose of PPEs, Ehteshamul said.
DGHS Additional Director General (Administration) Prof Nasima Sultana said: “As the controversy over PPEs caused a huge misconception, the authorities concerned are trying their best to ensure an adequate supply.”
Whatever the situation, it is of utmost importance to make sure treatments do not come to a halt, she added.
“We might not have a lot of PPEs but we are trying to make sure that our stock is never empty,” Dr Nasima said.
According to the Covid-19 Commodities Dashboard of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) updated at 12pm on May 31, they have some 672,277 PPE kits. Among them, 399,809 are protective coveralls with surgical face masks, and 32,936 kits have a gown with cap, shoe cover, and N95 mask; there are 19,423 PPE full sets (head and shoe cover, mask, and hand glove), 211,487 smart protective coveralls, 1,066 combo surgical protection dresses (apron, shoe cover, and cap), and 7,556 protective coveralls with shoe covers.
In addition, the authority has 1,593,782 masks readily available, including 8,005 respiratory masks, and 59,543 N95 or equivalent masks (KN95/FFP2). In a meeting held in May, the government decided to use KN95 or FFP2 masks as N95 masks are not available right now.
Moreover, the authority has stored 94,298 examination gloves and some 129,153 surgical gloves.
DGHS collected PPEs and other kits through central and local procurements, and donations. Most of the PPEs were collected through procurements, the dashboard showed.