There is nothing new in campus protests at Dhaka University (DU). Its students burst into protests occasionally to realise their various demands. They rocked their campus on Sunday, too. But this time it was prompted by an unusual reason -- dengue outbreak.
A DU student has died of dengue and at least ‘150 others’ have been infected with the mosquito-borne viral disease amid a worsening situation across the country, prompting their fellows to demand immediate postponement of their classes and examinations.
The demand was made from a human chain formed at the foot of Raju Memorial Sculpture on the campus on Sunday.On Friday night, Firoz Kabir, a student of the DU Finance Department of 2013-14 session, died of dengue at a private hospital in the capital.
Firoz, also a resident student of Jatir Janak Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall, was first admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) after he was diagnosed with dengue a week ago.
A Facebook group named ‘Shopner Dhaka University’ run by the DU students informed that at least 150 students from different residential halls have so far been infected with dengue.
According to a survey of the group, the prevalence of dengue is much higher among male students than their female counterparts.
Visiting the DU Medical Centre on Sunday morning, it was found that around 120 students with fever were waiting to receive treatment.
“Over the last seven days, many students with fever came to the medical centre, but we couldn’t offer them minimum service for lack of medical equipment. That’s why we refer them to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) or other hospitals for treatment," said Dr Sarwar Jahan Muktafi, acting chief medical officer of the medical centre.
“Today, we’ve launched a cell at the medical centre to diagnose dengue and count blood platelets. From now on, we’ll be able to offer special services to dengue patients,” he said.
Firoz’s death and the dengue cases on the campus have created panic among the students who blamed the university administration for failure to take immediate steps to control Aedes mosquitoes.
Many resident students have already left for their home to get rid of the deadliest fever while others were demanding closure of the university.
Mentioning that Firoz’s death is unacceptable, Harunur Rashid, a student of Sociology department and inmate of Bijoy Ekattar Hall, said, “It’s the duty of the university administration to ensure safety for all the students. But they’ve failed to perform their duties.”
He demanded closure of the university on an emergency basis until the situation improves.
Meanwhile, the DU Law department has postponed a term examination of Masters of 2018-19 session following the demand from students, according to a notice signed by department chairman Prof Dr Naima Huq.
DU Vice-chancellor Prof Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman, “We’re concerned about the dengue issue and working hard to tackle the situation. We’re carrying out a campaign on the campus to create awareness among the students about dengue. We’ve already launched a cell at the medical centre to this end.”
He advised the students not to be panicked, saying, “If we all keep our surroundings clean, we can easily get rid of dengue.”
A total of 824 people suffering from dengue fever were hospitalised across the country in 24 hours till Sunday morning, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.
Currently, 2,921 dengue patients are being treated in hospitals across the country.
From January 1 to Sunday, there have been 11,654 confirmed dengue cases.