It is said that the walls of hospitals have heard more prayers than prayer halls. But it is pathetic that this sacred place is spreading more Covid-19 than its capacity to give treatment to people. Hospitals are no more ensuring people with the hope of safety and wellbeing.
As we can see, this time Covid-19 is surging in Bangladesh like a tsunami, showing the highest peaks like never before. But what are the reasons for spreading so fast with an increased mortality rate? According to analysts, a new variant of Covid-19 from the UK was identified in Bangladesh on January 5, 2021. This new variant spreads quicker than the previous variants. It also affects patients on a serious level, leading to sudden oxygen saturation fall and also heart attacks in some cases, which is uncommon to other Covid-19 variants.Moreover, misconceptions about the Covid vaccination also led to the rapid spread of Covid-19. People thought they became protected once they were vaccinated. As a result, they started to go to crowded places, weddings, social and political meetings without putting on masks or maintaining social distance.
In any country, there are always some percentage of people needing treatment for different diseases. Covid and non-Covid patients require separate hospitals or separated hospital units that are self-sufficient with all types of testing equipment, medical supplies, doctors and nurses for safety of patients. But from my own recent experience at a reputed hospital, I saw three health workers transporting a Covid patient through a crowded outdoor corridor full of non-Covid patients. They were also using x-ray rooms for Covid and non-Covid patients with a high risk of spreading Covid-19. If anyone goes to a hospital for treatment and observes the surroundings for a while, no can see patients coughing with many other Covid symptoms. Non-Covid patients get exposed to the deadly virus like this when they go to hospitals for other diseases. Consequences are very dangerous when elderly citizens with chronic diseases are getting exposed to Covid-19 at hospitals.
Within a year are there any infrastructural and skill changes in our health care system? Doctors have more experience on Covid cases than before but just like the first wave of Covid-19, hospitals are struggling, giving minimal treatment to Covid patients and non-Covid patients are facing trouble. The majority of Covid patients are unable to get hospitalised and serious patients are deprived of ICU facilities. The doctors are feeling helpless not to be able to treat patients in lack of infrastructural support even though they want to.
From the sources of DGHS, the total number of ICU in our country is 688, and among these 508 ICUs are Covid dedicated. On the other hand, more than six thousand people are tested Covid positive every day. Normal Covid dedicated seat all over the country is 10,305. There is a huge gap in the number between available hospital seats and Covid infected patients. This scarcity of hospital beds and deprivation of treatment is a strong violation of the human rights for getting treatment in illness.
For many years, the people of our country have been blaming doctors for their slightest bad experience at hospitals. But the problem in the health care system has a deep root and that includes the hospital management authority, the public health authority, and the government. Now the innocent people are paying the price of mismanagement, consequences of wrong decisions and lack of implementation of steps for developing the health sector. Mismanagement of patients in hospitals has turned hospitals into a big virus exposing site and has put millions of lives at threat. This pandemic is not only killing people every day but also millions of lower and middle-class people's dreams are dying alongside their souls.
Shamima Afrin is an MBBS student at
Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College, Dhaka