• Thursday, Jan 27, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

Hospital bed crisis deepens as patients pour into Dhaka

  • Published at 11:33 pm March 31st, 2021
hospital bed
Photo: Bigstock

A 50-year-old patient with several comorbidities on Tuesday rushed to Dhaka after failing to find a hospital bed with oxygen supply in Comilla

A crisis of hospital beds in Dhaka is deepening as Covid-19 patients from other districts continue to pour into the capital.

A 50-year-old patient with several comorbidities on Tuesday rushed to Dhaka after failing to find a hospital bed with oxygen supply in Comilla. 

Comilla is one of 31 districts in the country that are currently experiencing a high transmission of Covid-19. Furthermore, it is the location of the nearest ICU facilities for Brahmanbaria, Chandpur, Lakhsmipur and Feni districts, all of which are also experiencing high transmission. 

After reaching the capital, the patient and his family first rushed to Kurmitola General Hospital, then Mugda Medical College Hospital and Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), but could not find a single available bed with oxygen supply.

The patient was finally admitted to Kuwait Bangladesh Maitree Hospital in the evening.


Also Read - Covid: Bangladesh again sees record cases in a day as daily deaths spike


According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Kurmitola General Hospital is now burdened with 50% more Covid-19 patients than its capacity, with 421 patients against 275 beds. Mugda Medical College Hospital has only 12 unoccupied beds out of 310, Kuwait Bangladesh Maitree Hospital has only 40 available beds, and there are 261 patients against 250 beds at Rajarbagh Central Police Hospital.

DMCH is facing a similar pressure of patients, even though a new building with 200 beds was recently added to it.

There are no vacant ICU beds at five out of eight dedicated Covid-19 government hospitals in Dhaka, and only five out of 108 ICU beds are left. About 45 ICU beds are unoccupied at private facilities in the capital, but they are charging Tk50,000-Tk1 lakh for each day.

Mugda Medical College and Hospital Director Dr Asim Kumar Nath said: “The transmission rate in Dhaka seems very high nowadays. Adding more pressure from other districts is making the situation go out of control.” 

An official at Kurmitola General Hospital, seeking anonymity, told Dhaka Tribune the hospital had been operating beyond its maximum capacity for over a month.

“We are going crazy treating patients, and still more patients from Dhaka and outside Dhaka are coming to the hospital. We don’t have any unoccupied ICU beds, so patients are having to share cabins,” the official said, adding that the hospital authorities were often forced to admit patients as they had travelled long distances from remote areas.

Relatives of patients said the quality of treatment appeared to be suffering due to the high patient pressure.


Also Read  - Covid-19: 31 high-risk districts identified by DGHS


On a visit to Kurmitola General Hospital, this reporter found 15 patients seeking admission. Most were from outside Dhaka.

On Monday, DGHS Additional Director General Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora appealed to people to go to divisional facilities before rushing to Dhaka, as hospitals in the capital were operating at maximum capacity. However, the announcement appears to have had little impact so far.

Dr Nazrul Islam, an eminent virologist and member of the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19, said there were clear indications of a surge in Covid-19 cases from the beginning of March, and so additional hospital beds should have been prepared by now.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Wednesday said the government was taking measures to increase the number of hospital and ICU beds. A total of 2,500 beds are to be added soon.

About 50 beds would be ready within a week, and 200 high-dependency unit beds a week after that, the minister said.

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