With a steady decline in both deaths and infections from the coronavirus over the last few weeks, the fear of the virus might have disappeared among a majority of people.
The ongoing mad rush of millions of people to their ancestral homes to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with their near and dear ones ignoring government’s instructions to stay at their present location also indicates that people in general are least bothered about the bug.Experts fear that this widespread apathy to the pandemic and the gross violation of health guidelines have created a perfect ground for Covid-19 to make another comeback. Besides, the current coronavirus situation in India and the detection of the highly contagious Indian virus variant in Bangladesh have made the country vulnerable to a possible third wave of Covid-19.
“We are not safe in this current situation. We fear there’ll be another wave because of the people’s attitude and negligence towards coronavirus, and the situation in India,” DNCC Hospital Director Brig Gen AKM Nasir Uddin told this correspondent in a telephonic interview on Monday.
As a result, the country’s largest dedicated Covid-19 hospital is now preparing for a possible spike in Covid-19 patients, informed the director of the hospital which was inaugurated in mid-April by improvising Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) market.
“If the situation worsens, we have an expansion plan. We could include more beds,” he said warning that no matter how developed a country is, there will be shortage in treatment facilities in hospitals if a large number of people get infected at a time as seen in India and the USA.
The DNCC market was transformed into a dedicated Covid-19 hospital amidst a serious crisis of ICU beds, oxygen and other facilities to treat corona patients.
“Within 17 days of instruction from the government, the market was turned into Bangladesh’s biggest ICU-supported hospital, which was a huge challenge that we accomplished,” said Nasir Uddin.From the third day of the hospital’s inauguration, it started handling around 100 patients a day at its ICU facilities and on Monday, it recorded approximately 1,050 patients, out of which the half were in critical conditions and were admitted there, he said.
The hospital director stated that DNCC plans to arrange 1,000 beds, including 200 ICU, 250 HDU and 50 for the emergency wing, for patient care making it Bangladesh’s largest emergency. Those 50 beds will also have HDU facility with central oxygen system.
“Dhaka Medical College Hospital, which is Bangladesh’s largest hospital, has 24 ICU beds whereas DNCC has a 200-bed capacity,” said Nasir Uddin, who is also former director of the DMCH.
The remaining 500 beds are cabins which were previously small shops. These beds similarly have oxygen support, but they are prepared for more mild cases. Although the hospital treats critical and mild patients, it does not provide any form of surgical care.
Since the opening of DNCC Hospital, it has been well-equipped with specialist physicians, nurses and equipment. This includes 150 medical assistants and nurses from the Armed Forces Division and some others from the Ministry of Health.
At the beginning, the hospital had a limited amount of pathology tests; however, the hospital authorities have informed that they are now equipped with all medical facilities to treat corona patients. They are also prepared and have been treating people who are going there with Covid-19 along with other extraneous illnesses.
The hospital is now equipped with portable X-ray machines, echo machines and a CT scan machine. “Its’ true that we had to send a number of patients to other hospitals at the beginning as we had no enough test kits, but that’s not the case anymore,” the hospital director said.
Finding adequate manpower was the biggest challenge DNCC Hospital has faced so far, he said. “When I saw that people were dying for lack of oxygen, ventilator support or things necessary to save life and we were waiting for more equipment and specialists to start, then I said no. I told the doctors to use the equipment we already have and start helping patients, or else people will die on the streets.”
“We took the challenge to treat Covid-19 patients and we’re now able to support the citizens,” Nasir Uddin added.