Every single ICU bed in Bangladesh is currently occupied
The story of Piara Begum in Sylhet highlights the absolute necessity for Bangladesh to ramp up its efforts to increase the capacity of the health care sector.
Last Friday, after having shown all the symptoms of Covid-19, she was taken to hospital after hospital in search of an ICU bed but, unable to find one, eventually succumbed to her death, gasping for breath.
This is no longer surprising considering the fact that, just last week, the health minister himself stated that every single ICU bed in Bangladesh is currently occupied, owing to the significant rise of Covid-19 cases and related deaths in addition to the rise in dengue as well.
Such tragic loss of life will continue to be seen across the nation if we do not prioritize allocating the necessary resources into the health sector in an effort to increase the nation’s collective capacity to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
To think that any one of us or our loved ones could be next if we are unfortunate enough to contract Covid-19 in the immediate future is a thought as scary as it is tragic.
Bangladesh was under relatively strict lockdown over the course of the last few weeks, which may have slowed down infection rates to some degree, but with lockdown being lifted, it is perhaps only a matter of time before cases rise and we see more and more incidents of hospitals turning away patients in critical conditions because they simply do not have the necessary staff, beds, or equipment to provide treatment.
To call this a potential national emergency would be an understatement: We need to start planning and immediately implementing ways in which the national health sector can cope with the exponentially rising number of patients while also taking preventative measures across the board to keep cases as low as possible.