Desk | 26 March 2020 | 8:58 pm
Though there is a growing fear of coronavirus outbreak in the country, Bangladesh only has 29 ICU beds for the possible patients to be infected with the deadly virus. Even, half of them are not ready yet to provide service.
Contacted, the Health Department could not confirm when the ICU beds will be fully ready.
Besides, the hospitals designated for dealing with the coronavirus patients are also in serious trouble due to acute manpower shortages, lack of training and experience in taking care of such patients.
Experts think the ICU beds should be set up now at all district hospitals alongside ensuring the safety of health workers to tackle the coronavirus situation.
IEDCR Chief Scientific Officer Dr. ASM Alamgir said those who have so far died from coronavirus were elderly persons having other physical complications.
He also said five of the eight elderly people identified as coronavirus patients have already died while around 80 lakh aged people all over the country are at risk of getting infected with the disease.
On the contrary, the government has informed about preparing only 29 ICU beds at five hospitals in the country.
While visiting Sheikh Hasina Gastro Liver Hospital it was seen that no bed has been set up in the designated ICU room. Though around 50 health workers are required for maintaining eight ICU beds in three shifts, the hospital had only two cleaners and four anesthesiologists.
Sheikh Russell Gastro Liver Institute and Hospital Director Dr. Farroque Ahmed said four anesthesiologists doctors can work in the ICU. However, it is very risky to work there without any training.
Under the situation, experts are questioning the justification of the Home Minister’s announcement to set up 500 more ICU beds in the country immediately.
The experts also emphasised the need for preparing at least one dedicated hospital having the ICU bed in each district to protect the lives of elderly people.
Former World Health Organization (WHO) official Mozaharul Haque said 29 ICU beds are too inadequate to protect the country’s senior citizens. “The hospitals that will be designated for coronavirus patients will have to be fully isolated.”