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Dhaka hospitals under pressure from Covid-19 surge

  • Published at 08:58 pm March 12th, 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

Rise in Covid-19 cases contained to the capital, so far 

Dedicated Covid-19 hospitals in Dhaka are once again under pressure after a sudden surge in coronavirus cases.

Experts said the surge in coronavirus cases could be the start of a second wave in Bangladesh, but health authorities are confident in their preparations.

Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Director (Hospitals) Dr Farid Uddin Miah said the surge in cases is contained to the capital, for now.

“We have not received reports of increasing coronavirus cases from the periphery areas yet,” he added.

According to Integrated Control Room of DGHS, 109 out of a total 297 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds at 19 public and private hospitals in Dhaka were occupied as of February 25. On Friday, 154 of the ICU beds were occupied.

All the beds at Kurmitola General Hospital and Kuwait-Bangladesh Maitree Hospital were occupied, while Mugda Medical College Hospital and Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) saw significant increases in the number of patients.

Patient numbers at hospitals in Chittagong have been relatively unchanged over the past 15 days.

Dr Anisur Rahman, head of the ICU Department at Mugda Medical College and Hospital, said they have seen an increase in the demand for Covid-19 ICU beds over the past few days and several patients are waiting for ICU space. Dhaka Medical College Principal and Medicine Department Professor Titu Miah said they have seen a similar trend. 

Sources from several government hospitals said a significant number of the patients have taken their first dose of the vaccine.

Prof Titu Miah said many of the patients recently visited Cox’s Bazar and they are suspected to have been infected there.

How are the government's preparations?

Dr Aminul Hasan, former director (hospitals) of DGHS, in July last year told this newspaper that 200 new ICUs were to be installed across the country. However, many of these are yet to be installed.

Mugda Medical College Hospital was supposed to get 10 ICUs, but they have received 5, so far. DMCH is supposed to receive 20 and Kurmitola General Hospital is marked for 10.

Authorities said they are hopeful of installing all the ICUs soon.

Current DGHS Director (Hospitals) Dr Farid Miah admitted that they have failed to finish the ICU installations.

“However, we have completed installing central oxygen supply connections at over a hundred hospitals throughout the country,” he said.

Around 715 high flow nozzle cannulas, 660 oxygen concentrators, and 12,773 oxygen cylinders have been distributed to Covid-19 dedicated hospitals.

 “We already have a clinical setup at the hospitals and the hospitals have been instructed to revive them to tackle the situation, if needed,” the director said.

Prof Titu Miah said current resources and measures needed to stay resilient against a second wave of Covid-19 were discussed at a meeting between hospitals and health authorities last Wednesday.

“We can say that we are prepared enough to face it,” he added.

Sources from IEDCR said they are going to test Covid-19 patients became infected after taking the first shot.

Dr Nazrul Islam, member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, said he has heard about people getting infected after receiving the first shot of the vaccine. He called for antibody tests and other research on the general population to find the cause.

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