The Health Services Division will bear all expenses of this quarantine initiative
The government has taken the initiative to ensure provisional accommodation facilities for healthcare providers -- doctors, nurses and other medical staff -- who are treating Covid-19 patients in hospitals.
Physicians, nurses and medical workers treating coronavirus patients at hospitals across Bangladesh have been asked to stay at nearby hotels while they are on duty, instead of returning home, officials at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.
The move follows the example of other countries, including China and India, as a preventive measure to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Doctors on the front lines
Since several doctors and nurses have already contracted Covid-19, a severely acute respiratory illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus, the government has taken the hotel initiative, aiming to avoid endangering the healthcare professionals’ families when they return home from work, officials said.
The healthcare providers must stay 14 extra days in their respective hotel rooms before returning home, as a precaution, they added.
Rina Parveen, additional secretary (world health wing) at the Health Services Division, told Dhaka Tribune: "Doctors, nurses and medical workers are the front line fighters against the coronavirus. We have already taken an initiative to provide special accommodation for them, so their family members are protected from the contagion.
"We have taken the matter seriously to execute the plan in full swing from next week," she added.
Initiative to be expanded for all medical workers
Meanwhile, physicians and nurses at Dhaka's Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital, who are treating the Covid-19 patients, have been staying at a hotel in Sector 1 of Uttara, which is just a kilometre away from the hospital, for the last few days.
"We are staying at a hotel now, and go to the hospital from there to do our shifts and attend to the patients," a physician told Dhaka Tribune, requesting anonymity.
Apart from the Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital, Kurmitola General Hospital is also treating the Covid-19 patients. The Regent Hospital in Uttara has been incorporated into the list of hospitals taking in the increasing number of patients.
According to the government plan, all the medical workers will be gradually brought under the facility with separate rooms and transport.
"We have prepared a list of doctors and nurses along with other medical staffers, to provide them with the accommodation facility within Sunday," Rina Parveen said.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will also issue a circular in this regard, she added.
Health Services Division to bear all expenses
Sherajul Islam, additional secretary (hospital) at the Health Services Division, told Dhaka Tribune: "The hospital authorities have booked the hotels for accommodation as we have yet to kick-start the initiative directly. But we will bear all the expenses in this regard.
"It is sort of a quarantine facility, so that the family members of the doctors and nurses are safe," he added.
However, most of the doctors who are attending to Covid-19 patients are still going home, sources said.
When asked, the hospital authorities declined to comment on the issue, but the ministry officials said such irresponsible practice will not continue once the government strictly enforces the initiative, soon after an order is issued with a work plan next week.