• Wednesday, Jun 29, 2022
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Hospitals swamped with dengue patients, doctors face a tough time

  • Published at 11:04 pm July 28th, 2019
web-dengue- Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital
File photo: Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital seen flooded with dengue patients as the outbreak continues Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

11,654 dengue cases recorded nationwide between January 1 and July 28 this year

Momotaz Begum from Gabtoli admitted her 10-year-old daughter Taslima to Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital in Dhaka with severe fever on Saturday.

The hospital, already packed with dengue patients, allotted a shared bed for Taslima's daughter, without a single bed being vacant, due to the large number of dengue infected patients.

The patient flow spiked so significantly that the hospital also had to accommodate patients on the floors.

Momotaz considers herself very lucky, being able to get at least a shared bed, where many people were lying on the floor.

The same shortage of facilities is true at all Dhaka hospitals and clinics, and elsewhere in the country, struggling to provide services to dengue patients.

Doctors and staff at hospitals are not able to handle the huge number of patients flooding the hospitals with dengue symptoms.

Many hospitals, including Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Mugda Medical College and Hospital, had to accommodate many patients on the floor as they ran out of beds with an ever increasing number of patients.

There are no mosquito nets provided with most beds at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital, putting the patients and their attendants at higher risk in the midst of the dengue outbreak.


Dengue patients at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital as the outbreak continues |Mehedi Hasasn/Dhaka Tribune

“There is no way to say that I won't be infected by dengue too. There are two patients on a bed. How can we set a single mosquito net for two patients?” Momotaz said.

Not having mosquito nets for the 217 registered patients at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital poses a threat of dengue spreading and infecting patient attendants and hospital staff as well.

Visiting several hospitals yesterday, this correspondent found large numbers of people crowded at hospital entry points to test for dengue and be admitted.

All are lobbying for a place at hospitals where each and every corner is full of dengue patients, mostly children, with many on the floor.

The corridors and lobbies are so crowded it is difficult to find space to walk between patients there.

There are mosquitoes everywhere, including in the rooms of doctors and nurses . 

Raisa, a 16 month old baby girl, was admitted to the general ward with dengue. Her mother Laiju said: “We came here from Gazipur. I have no mosquito net with me and there is no scope to hang or draw a net here. 

“I know that dengue spreads through mosquitoes, but I can do nothing,” she continued.


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Although SAM Kamruzzaman, the hospital’s statistics officer, said 217 patients were admitted, the number was found to be much higher than the recorded.

Dr Idris Siddiqui Mehedi, assistant registrar for Suhrawardy Hospital’s general ward, said two thirds of all patients are dengue patients. 

“The situation turned so bad that on a single bed we have even had to accommodate  three patients: a dengue patient, a patient with kidney problems, and another with pneumonia. How will they set nets?” he said.

“We are definitely at risk, but helpless,” he added. 

Anowara Begam, a ward nurse, said: “We have more than 70 dengue patients in this ward today (Sunday). One of our nurses has been infected by dengue. Two children of other nurses have also been infected. We are at high risk but there is nothing we can do.”

The general wards for male and female were much the same as well, yesterday. 


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Anowara Begam, a ward nurse, said: “We have more than 70 dengue patients in this ward today (Sunday). One of our nurses has been infected by dengue. Two children of other 

Shahanara Parveen, a nurse for the male general ward said: "We have 25 dengue patients at present (Sunday) while many are waiting to be admitted. 

“It is our job to serve patients. But we have no preventive system. We are doing our duty as best we can to meet the huge patient demand,” she added. 

When asked about their safety, Dr Tania, a female ward doctor, kept silent. After a few moments, she said: "We have to ensure our own safety. But I do not know how to save myself when almost all of the patients have no mosquito nets in their beds.” 

The Dengue numbers

In the worst dengue outbreak in the country’s history, Bangladesh has seen a total of 11,654 dengue cases nationwide between January 1 and July 28 this year, according to data provided by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

Of them, 824 were found infected by the mosquito-borne viral disease and hospitalized between Saturday and yesterday alone.

Government data confirms the death of eight people only between January 1 and July 28 this year, although unofficial death toll figures stand at a minimum of 33.

At least 9,510 patients were admitted to hospitals in the first 28 days of July, while four patients died this month, according to the latest DGHS control room data. 

DGHS data shows that the number of people diagnosed with dengue is on the rise outside Dhaka as well. 611 cases have been reported so far in various districts of six divisions. Of them, 282 are currently undergoing treatment at hospitals.

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