Monday, 25 September, 2023

Scarcity of IV normal saline amid dengue outbreak

Scarcity of IV normal saline amid dengue outbreak

Popular News

A serious shortage of normal liquid saline or IV (Intravenous) fluid has hit different places of the country, including the capital, due to its high demand for dengue patients. 

“There is no scarcity of the IV normal saline in government hospitals. However, supply of the saline by EDCL may be slow amid huge demand,” Md Habibul Ahsan Talukder, director (hospital and clinic) of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told the Daily Sun.

Mentioning that the EDCL does not produce the normal IV saline now, Prof Dr Ehsanul Kabir, managing director and CEO of the Essential Drugs Company Limited (EDCL), said they provide the normal IV saline to the government hospitals through purchasing from private companies like Square Pharma, Libra Infusions, Beximco Pharma, Opsonin, The Acme, Orion Pharma, and Popular Pharma.

“We supplied around 60 lakh bags saline to the government hospitals last year. We hope we can go for production of the saline in our factory from February next year,” he added.

Md Zakir Hossain, deputy general manager of the EDCL, said they provided 6.70 lakh bags of normal IV saline to public hospitals across the country.

While visiting different drug stores in different places, including in Mirpur and Uttara, of the city, this correspondent found that there was a serious scarcity of the IV saline in the stores while its prices have also shot up to Tk 200-300 in some areas.

“I struggled to manage three packets of the IV normal saline from the drug stores. If we need more,      then we have to look for alternative sources of the saline tomorrow. However, in this crisis, some drug stores are also asking for extra price,” Rokibul Islam, brother of a dengue patient who was admitted to Medical College for Women and Hospital in the city’s Uttara, told the Daily Sun.

Selim Hossain, owner of Shapnadana Medistore in Mirpur area, said, “I have stock of some normal IV saline but the supply of this saline is almost stopped. The shortage of the saline supply has been created due to surge of dengue patients.”

While visiting different government and private hospitals, this correspondent saw that the patients and their guardians were struggling to collect the IV saline in different areas of the capital.

“We have created a stock of the saline earlier, that’s why we have no scarcity of the saline,” Dr Md Khalilur Rahman, director of Govt Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, said.

He further said the number of patients in the hospital has been increasing day by days as average around 40-50 fresh dengue patients are being admitted to the hospital.

Mentioning that the EDCL cannot provide adequate saline, Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of the DGHS, told newsmen on Sunday that they will give NOC and fund to public hospitals to collect normal IV saline.

The hospital sources said Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital currently provides average 400 bagsof saline every day.

Sources said the patients who are admitted to the private hospitals are actually facing the scarcity of the IV saline as they are to collect the saline from different drug stores.

There is a demand of over 20,000 bags normal IV saline for only the dengue patients across the country everyday. At least thirty percent of the patients are collecting the saline individually from the market as they are admitted to private hospitals.

According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), 9,347 dengue patients were undergoing treatment across the country till Sunday morning while 4,605 patients were admitted in government and private hospitals in the capital.

Of the 4,605 patients in Dhaka city, 2,446 were admitted to 20 government hospitals, including Mugda Medical College Hospital, Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Sir Salimullah Medical College and Mitford Hospital and Kurmitola General Hospital.

On the other hand, 2,159 dengue patients were undergoing treatment in 56 private hospitals in the Dhaka city, including Holy Family Red Crescent hospital, Ibn Sina Hospital Kallyanpur, Islami Bank central hospital Kakrail, Asgar Ali Hospital and Shaheed Monsur Ali Medical College Hospital.

“Normal IV saline is needed for dengue patients in a bid to manage fluid supply in their body,” Dr Md Fazle Rabbi Chowdhury, associate professor at the Department of Internal Medicine at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), said.

Responding to a question of reporters, Dr Md Shahadat Hossain, director (MIS) of the DGHS, told a virtual press briefing on Sunday that there is adequate stock of the normal IV saline in government hospitals across the country, including in Dhaka.

“We came to know about the crisis in some places. The hospital department of the health directorate is working to resolve the crisis. The DG (Director General) of the DGHS has already talked to the DG of the DGDA (Directorate General of Drug Administration) about the crisis,” he said.

Mentioning that the saline crisis in market is a matter linked to manufacturing companies, the health directorate and drug administration, Dr Shahadat said the health ministry is working with this issue.