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OP-ED: Where do the other patients go?

  • Published at 03:15 pm June 6th, 2020
coronavirus test
What happens if you don’t have the coronavirus? / MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

Regular patients are failing to get the treatment they deserve

After identifying the first case of coronavirus on March 8 in Bangladesh, the government first appointed one hospital, Kutmitola General Hospital in Dhaka, to treat patients. Then, after the number of patients rose, eight government hospitals and three other private hospitals were identified in Dhaka and five other hospitals outside of Dhaka for the treatment of patients. Later, three other private hospitals in Dhaka were added to this list. 

But the big matter is that the entire government, including the Ministry of Health, have been so preoccupied with coronavirus patients that it has diverted the attention of the government from regular patients.

So, what is the state of medical services for patients without Covid-19?

The answer is very clear. Many patients without coronavirus are facing severe crises due to a lack of necessary treatment in time, due to the failure of the government and private hospitals to receive patients with symptoms of corona for fear of its spread. 

The causes behind

First, many doctors and health service providers are directly involved in providing treatment for coronavirus patients, which has led to the availability of fewer of doctors. 

There is a shortage of manpower in more than one-fifth of the total number of posts, including doctors, nurses, health workers, and support manpower under the Department of Health, Department of Family Planning, and Department of Nursing. 

According to international standards, every country must have 45 doctors, nurses, and other health workers per 10,000 people, but there are only nine in Bangladesh.

Secondly, the country’s 37 health care institutions are involved in providing treatment for coronavirus patients. It is reported that the country has 500,000 hospital beds across the country. 7,000 beds were isolated for coronavirus patients, resulting in fewer beds. It is also reported that 68% of the total hospital beds in this country are in private hospitals.

Additionally, many doctors, nurses, and health workers have been infected with the coronavirus, and many of them have been quarantined and isolated from home. Also, many hospitals were closed and suspended due to the presence of the coronavirus in them.

As a result, ordinary patients are denied private treatment. And the rich, who used to travel abroad for treatment, now do not have that opportunity either.

Treatment opportunities for non-coronavirus patients have been significantly reduced. 

Their health risks have increased a lot, especially those suffering from chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, paralysis, asthma, and respiratory, liver and kidney diseases, etc. Pregnant women, mothers, and children are also more vulnerable.

It is known that many patients are going from hospital to hospital for treatment, but they are not receiving treatment. 

A student from Dhaka University died after visiting several hospitals for treatment as he did not get treatment in time. The same thing happened to a nine-months pregnant woman in Narayangang province. 

What we should do

First, we need to increase out health workforce to be able to provide health services to citizens. The government has already taken the initiative to recruit around 7,000 doctors and nurses. But we need more.

Secondly, training must be arranged to enhance the skills of the workforce in the health sector. Private hospitals should be more proactive in treating ordinary patients during the pandemic. There should be government monitoring in this case.

Finally, regular patients should take maximum protection during a visit to any hospital; if the patient has symptoms of Covid-19, they should not be hidden. 

Muhammad Shoaib is the Editor of Daily My News, an Arabic online portal. 

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