• Wednesday, Oct 05, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Hospitals run out of beds, ICUs as rural patients rush to Dhaka

  • Published at 05:46 am August 3rd, 2021
Doctors in Covid-19 ICU in Dhaka MHO
File photo: Doctors on duty inside a Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at a hospital in Dhaka Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Seven out of 10 patients in a hospital are from the rural areas, says DGHS chief

Many Covid-19 patients from rural areas have been moving to hospitals in Dhaka for better treatment as the infection rate is still very high in many districts around Bangladesh.

Due to this, an alarming shortage of beds and Intensive Care Units (ICUs) has been seen in the capital city’s hospitals.

Masudul Haque faced severe trouble once he brought his mother Sharifa Akhter to Dhaka from Nabinagar, Brahmanbaria and could not admit her to any hospital.

His mother was recently admitted to Brahmanbaria District Sadar Hospital as a Covid-19 patient. But on Saturday morning, when she developed respiratory issues and her oxygen saturation dropped to 70, doctors advised him to shift her to Dhaka immediately.

Farmworker Obaidul, however, was able to admit his mother at Mohakhali DNCC Covid Hospital after failing to admit her to Mugda Medical College Hospital and Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) on Sunday.

The DNCC hospital’s director, Brig Gen AKM Nasir Uddin, said: “There is a huge scarcity of beds against the number of patients. We are unable to admit so many patients. Patients get a seat only when another patient is released.”

A Dhaka Tribune correspondent visited Mugda hospital and found many people who rushed there from other districts with their patients. However, only those who are bribing a broker were seen getting beds once they are vacant.

Kamal Hazari, 65, is one such patient, who was struggling to breathe in front of the hospital’s emergency department on Sunday.

Also Read- Covid-19: How can Bangladesh ramp up its vaccination capabilities?

His family members took him there around 8am when his condition worsened after a 13-day fever. But they were not able to admit him until afternoon.

“We are waiting with great anxiety as we heard there is no vacancy. If we had not managed to get a bed, we would have had to move to another hospital,” said his daughter Laili.

The family lives in Demra and the Mugda hospital is the nearest to their house but the majority of the patients admitted there were from outside Dhaka.

MA Aziz Liton, a Covid-19 patient, came from Chandpur for better treatment and was admitted to the hospital on Saturday.

“My cousin is a doctor in the hospital. That is why we could manage a bed in the ICU for my father who is suffering badly from Covid-19," said Shakil Ahmed, who also came from Chandpur.

The crisis

Patients and health workers at Mugda hospital and DMCH said hundreds of Covid-19 patients are rushing to Dhaka every day, so the bed and ICU crisis have gone sky high for many people.

Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, the director general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), admitted that patients from rural areas moving to Dhaka created the scarcity of beds and ICUs at the hospitals in the capital city.

Also Read- Bangladesh set to launch massive Covid-19 vaccination drive

He said he found out that seven out of 10 patients were from rural areas after visiting Mugda hospital and Kurmitola General Hospital.

“We also found that 90% of the admitted patients were not vaccinated,” Dr Alam added.

“However, as the massive vaccination drive is going to start in rural areas soon, the situation will improve gradually,” he told Dhaka Tribune. 

Virologist Prof Nazrul Islam, also a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, said Bangladesh has come to a point that there is no alternative to increasing medical care facilities for the Covid-19 patients.

“We had a year and more but unfortunately did not see any significant improvement in the health sector to tackle the health crisis,” he added.

Until Monday, Bangladesh recorded 21,162 deaths from Covid-19 and 1,280,317 cases since the pandemic entered the country in March last year.

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