• Sunday, Jan 23, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:02 am

Not enough beds to go around

  • Published at 05:28 pm May 6th, 2020
icu
File photo of a ICU unit at a Hospital Dhaka Tribune

It will be a tragedy of the highest order if thousands perish because of ill-equipped facilities

The math is not in Bangladesh’s favour: We are a country with a population of over 160 million. The number of intensive care unit beds in the country is only 1,245.

The number of beds drops even lower if we are counting dedicated ICU beds that are actually equipped with proper ventilation facilities for the treatment of Covid-19 patients, according to the Directorate General of Health Services. Needless to say, Bangladesh is far from meeting the guidelines issued by the World Health Organization.

We simply cannot afford to be this unprepared. Of course, prevention is better than cure, and first and foremost, we should be observing social distancing, and taking all possible precautionary measures such as wearing masks, regularly washing hands, and using hand sanitizers. However, regardless of the measures we take, a certain portion of the population will get sick, and many of them, especially those with pre-existing conditions, and the elderly, will require intensive care.

It will be a tragedy of the highest order if thousands perish because of ill-equipped facilities. Recently, the global death toll exceeded 250,000, and the pressure on health systems all over the world is immense. In a situation like this, it is not at all surprising that Bangladesh’s resources are not quite up to the mark, but certainly, we can do better than we have done thus far.

The DGHS, back in April, had requested the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, for more ICU beds, but since most ICU beds are not properly equipped, they hardly make a difference.

Our government needs to treat this shortage as a priority before the death toll spirals out of control.

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