Sick HSC candidates would do well to not show up to the exam hall
The higher secondary exams in Bangladesh are going to start soon, and HSC candidates may not be going for a coronavirus test, intentionally, even after experiencing symptoms that infected people typically exhibit, such as having a fever for a few days as well as other health issues.
The most probable reason is, if they go for a test and the results say that they have serious symptoms of coronavirus, they will have to be “away” from their home to be in isolation for treatment, which would severely hamper their final preparation for the board exams and subsequently lead to a poor result, possibly leading to absence in some exams as well.
And even in such a situation, there is a strong probability that the student’s decision to not get tested for the virus will be supported by their parents or guardians.
But, if any infected student goes to the exam centre, there are high chances that fellow students, invigilators, and others will contract the coronavirus too.
Moreover, this communicable disease is already declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
That is why, realizing the sensitivity of the situation, the government should reach out to people and conduct coronavirus tests on people. The government has previously shown its commendable efficiency in reaching out to people in different alarming medical situations -- especially when it comes to vaccination.
In January this year, the Directorate General of Health Services said that at least 1.2 million people in Dhaka will be getting two doses of cholera vaccine.
And subsequently, from February 19 to 25, the first round of the oral cholera vaccine was administered to infants above a year old in six high cholera-prone areas in Dhaka (Mohammadpur, Adabor, Darussalam, Lalbagh, Kamrangir Char, and Hazaribagh).
The second dose is due this month. Health services director for communicable disease of the directorate also said that they would reach out to all people in phases to safeguard them from the disease.
And in December 2019, the government had conducted a three week long cholera vaccine campaign in Cox’s Bazar and nearby areas to protect 635,000 Rohingya refugees from the disease.
In short, there are uncountable examples where the government has done great in response to the medical needs of the country.
And as a recognition, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received the “Vaccine Hero” award conferred by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).
So, these examples indicate that the government is efficient enough to reach out to people and do the needful in this coronavirus outbreak.
Though the government has already taken many effective measures -- notable among which are closing educational institutes for two weeks -- it is imperative that they prioritize treating people who are infected with the virus and spreading necessary knowledge about what coronavirus is as well as what preventive steps one should take to avoid it.
With that, if the government also invests the effort to directly reach out to every single person in the country to provide them with necessary medical support -- including taking other relevant initiatives -- the future of the students will also be secured.
Nafis Ehsas Chowdhury is Prefect at Birshreshtha Noor Mohammad Public College.