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Covid-19 Surge: Too many patients, not enough beds

  • Published at 11:17 am July 26th, 2021
Covid-19 Suhrawardy Medical Hospital Mehedi Hasan
File photo of a Covid-19 patient is taken out of an ambulance and into Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital in Dhaka on Thursday, July 8, 2021 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

ICU shortage in local hospitals are leading to patients coming to Dhaka hospitals 

Faced with a severe shortage of ICU and general beds, the government hospitals in Dhaka are struggling to cope with the steady stream of Covid-19 patients. Many of them are coming from outside the city and are in critical condition.

The rush has filled the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) to the brim and forced the authorities to admit patients more than their capacity. 

Yet, many have been kept on the waiting list for a bed, while others have simply been asked to hunt beds in other hospitals. This includes even critical patients who need intensive care.

According to the Health Services Division, there are 16 government hospitals in the capital dedicated to Covid patients. Three of these hospitals do not have any ICUs. Seven of the remaining 13 hospitals had no ICU bed empty as of Saturday.   

In the remaining six hospitals, only 40 ICU beds were available on Saturday, said the authorities, adding that things are changing rapidly.  

The pressure has mounted in Dhaka hospitals due to a lack of ICU facilities in adjacent district hospitals. The few ICU beds those hospitals have were already full.

ICU beds are not easily available in the districts. An average of 25 patients need ICU in the hospitals designated for coronavirus in the capital.

As per the Health Services Division, this increasing number of Covid patients has led hospitals to provide treatment despite having fewer beds to accommodate them.


Also Read - Bangladesh’s daily Covid deaths, new infections hit record highs again


Brig Gen Nazmul Haque, director of Dhaka Medical College Hospital, told UNB that there is no scope for the ICUs to remain vacant as the beds available are fewer than the demand. 

Every day 60 to 70 new Covid patients are being admitted. In some cases, patients are admitted without a bed. Many critical patients have to be transferred to Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery.

Dhaka Medical College Hospital has 705 general beds for Covid-19 patients. Currently, 724 Covid patients are undergoing treatment there. In other words, an extra 19 patients are admitted against the bed capacity. None of the 10 ICU beds are vacant at this time.

Among the government hospitals in the capital, the Covid-dedicated Kurmitula General Hospital is providing treatment to about 50 additional patients against 265 beds.

The other government hospitals present a similar picture.

Dr Habibur Rahman, director of Syed Nazrul Islam Medical College and Hospital in Kishoreganj, said: "We have 200 beds here. The hospital is crowded with patients as more and more patients are coming for treatment. There are 10 ICUs and all are occupied with patients."

In Chittagong Division, Chattogram Medical College Hospital is providing treatment to an extra 20 patients against 206 beds. Private Maternal and Child Hospital to 15 additional patients against 109 beds.

Likewise, Al Manahil Nurture General Hospital to five additional patients against 43 beds. Cumilla Medical College Hospital has an extra 15 patients against 106 beds.

In Khulna Division, 20 additional patients are undergoing treatment against 121 beds in Jashore General Hospital, 20 extra patients against 50 beds in Magura Sadar Hospital, and 100 additional patients against 190 beds in Kushtia General Hospital.

In Rajshahi Division, Mohammad Ali Hospital in Bogra is providing treatment to 40 extra patients against 242 beds, Rajshahi Medical College Hospital to 40 extra patients against 434 beds, and Natore Adhunik Sadar Hospital to 20 extra patients against 70 beds.

In Mymensingh Division, 10 extra patients are admitted against 210 beds in Mymensingh Medical College Hospital.

Extra five Covid patients are undergoing treatment on 84 beds at Sylhet Shaheed Shamsuddin Ahmed Hospital in Sylhet Division.

In Barisha Division, extra 15 patients are being treated against 50 beds in Barguna Sadar Hospital.

In this regard, Abul Bashar Khurshid Alam, the director general of the Health Services Division told UNB that there are preparations for tackling the increased number of Covid patients.

He said recommendations have been made to set up field hospitals in different districts for patients outside Dhaka and also to increase the number of beds.

The DG also said: "In the current situation, we have not seen any results of the 14-day lockdown as yet. Generally, the results are usually seen after 3-4 days of a lockdown.”

“We are trying our best to understand the condition of the patient and take necessary medical measures. Arrangements are being made to bring oxygen from India. At present our country has a demand of 200 tonnes of oxygen daily," he added.

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