Tributes to the true heroes of the pandemic

Nusrat Jahan Pritom

16th June, 2020 10:18:29 printer

Tributes to the true heroes of the pandemic

It has only been over three months since the first three Covid-19 patients were found in Bangladesh but already we are witnessing 87,520 coronavirus infected patients with a death toll 1,171!  The good news on the other hand is that even in this dire situation, 18,730 patients have recovered from Covid-19. Doctors play a vital role in this recovery. They are working directly with Covid-19 patients- people the general mass must avoid. Unfortunately, we have many of our medical heroes under the plight of corona and few have even sacrificed their lives for us. Until Sunday, 31 doctors have died across the country from coronavirus infection.

Soon after the virus made its presence aware among the people of Bangladesh on March 8, within April 15 over a 100 doctors were infected by it. A report by Anadolu Agency states that most of these doctors got infected because of lack of protective equipment. On April 15, Dr Md Moyeen Uddin, an assistant professor of Medicine at the Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital died from coronavirus. This was the first reported death of a doctor. However, despite of the news of his death, the situation did not get any better as doctors continued getting infected. According to Bangladesh Doctors Foundation (BDF), a forum of physicians, 324 physicians -- both at private and public hospitals -- have been infected by the deadly virus till April 26.

By May 4, BDF stated that 554 doctors had been diagnosed positive with coronavirus, while only 20 recovered. Colonel (retd) Professor Dr Moniruzzaman died on this day. He was the second doctor to die from the Covid-19.  He was a resident doctor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet).

A third doctor Major (retd) Professor Dr Abul Mokarim Md Mohsin Uddin died from Covid-19 on May 12. He was infected by the virus ten days before his death. Dr Abul Mokarim was the Head of Radiology Department at Ibn Sina Hospitall in the capital.

On June 3, Dr Mohammad Mohiuddin, a professor at the microbiology department of Ibrahim Medical College, has died from Covid-19. He contracted the virus about 24 days ago and was hospitalised afterwards at Holy Family Red Crescent Medical College Hospital.

Dr Muhid Hasan, medical officer at emergency department of Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) died the next day on Thusrday, June 4. Dr Faysal Iqbal Chowdhury, general secretary of Bangladesh Medical Association’s Chattogram said in a report that Dr Muhihd Hasan succumbed to the coronavirus while undergoing treatment at intensive care unit of CMCH. He added that the deadly virus has so far infected 73 physicians there and claimed two physicians’ lives.

Tanzila Rahman, a physician working at the Marie Stopes Clinic in Dhaka’s Lalmatia, died from the novel coronavirus infection on June 10. She is the 23rd physician to die from the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, according to the Foundation for Doctors’ Safety Rights and Responsibility or FDSR. On June 14, Dr Sadekur Rahman, a doctor of Jemison Red Crescent Maternity Hospital, breathed his last.

According to World Health Organization, Bangladesh’s doctor-to-patient ratio is 5.26 per 10,000 people, the second-lowest in South Asia. This is both frightening and eye-opening since if general people do not follow safety precautions now, the situation at hospitals will become even worse. Already there is hardly enough room for more patients while newly infected patients with a possibility of coronavirus crowd these hospitals every day, standing next to others who are completely oblivious to the fact. It is one of those reasons that add up to why the number of daily infected patients is on the rise (approximately 3000 corona positive patients last week). If this keeps up, it is suspected that the healthcare system may even collapse.

Salute to our doctors who are risking their lives to save the lives of patients every day. It is time general people also take matters into their own hands. Everybody should wash their hands, observe social distancing, wear protective masks and follow all procedures to flatten the curve. This in turn will help doctors cope up better as the number of patients flooding into hospitals with coronavirus will decrease. As a result, our healthcare heroes will be at less risk and even mass people would thrive better. The time to act is now.