Razimul’s wife Shapna didn’t know what to do when she needed nearly Tk1 lakh per day to keep her husband alive in the ICU
A former student of the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Dhaka, Razimul Karim got admitted to the hospital on April 16 with an 80% of his lungs affected by Covid-19. He was incubated and admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), with his family now having to keep paying rapidly mounting hospital costs just to keep him alive.
Despaired and desperate, Razimul’s wife Samiha Tasrin Shapna — who is also an alumnus of the same department — raked up about Tk4 lakh from her family sources. But it wasn’t enough. Shapna, Covid positive herself at this point, kept looking for more sources from where she can get the money to keep her husband breathing in the ICU.
It was at this point when the news of Razimul spread among his and Shapna’s university friends who jumped in to raise funds.
Having raised Tk4 lakh on April 26 — the very first day of fundraising — the friends appealed to alumni of and everyone association with the geography department to donate. By April 27 the fund went up to Tk7 lakh.
Donations kept coming in and by May 3 Shapna received nearly Tk18 lakh, among which Tk14 lakh were from their friends living in many parts of Bangladesh and across the world, who wired in their donations. The alumni association of Razimul’s department donated Tk1 lakh as well.
“When we realized that we have enough money for treatment, we announced on Facebook immediately that donation is no longer needed,” said Fahmida Pompa, one of Razimul’s friends who participated in the fundraising.
After a surgery and other critical treatment, Razimul finally got out of the incubation. With his requirements for oxygen easing from 50 litres to 4 litres, Razimul finally woke up. Even though he is far from recovered, he no longer faces life risk from his illness.
Many troubling stories of Covid patients overburdened with hospital bills emerged over the last year. Even though treatment at government hospitals for Covid-19 is free, many have to rely on private services for better treatment and end up paying hundreds of thousands of taka, which for many is far outside of what they can afford.