Though the number of corona deaths in our country has been decreasing day by day, the number of Dengue deaths has been increasing. Our country battles the dengue outbreak amid COVID-19 crisis. First, we need to know the difference between COVID-19 and dengue. During COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers who are treating patients with dengue must consider dengue and COVID-19 within the diagnosis of acute febrile illnesses. Most people with dengue and COVID-19 have mild symptoms and will recover at home; symptoms usually last some days, and most tend to feel better after a week. However, both dengue and COVID-19 can cause severe illness which can cause death.
The clinical management for people who develop severe illness with either of these two diseases is different, often requiring hospital care. Anyone can develop severe illness with dengue or COVID-19. Both are likely to cause complications in adults with underlying chronic conditions, like diabetes and heart disease. At present dengue has taken an alarming turn in our country this year. Anyone can be infected by dengue. But children are most vulnerable because of their comparatively weaker immune system. The situation is critical as dengue cases per day are still over 250. Simultaneously, we are going through a pandemic, our government has undertaken COVID-19 vaccination programme to protect the people as soon as possible.
To prevent and control infections, the immediate challenges ahead are to conduct the tests, isolate the infected, tracing contacts and quarantine. There are appropriate measures for the overseas returnees. It is also critical to deter stigma, fake news, and psychological stress. It is essential to give courage and mental strength to the frontline fighters, and support to the poor and daily wage earners, etc. According to a report of Bangladesh Medical Research council, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, developed guidelines for containment of this pandemic. For an efficient and timely preparedness and response, the DGHS has developed ‘National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19, Bangladesh’. All countries should implement WHO guidelines and proposals.
In Bangladesh, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare alone cannot mitigate this pandemic. Coordinated efforts among the ministries, and effective and timely engagement of the non-government and private sectors are strongly recommended. Intensification of RT-PCR lab tests for case detection, isolation and management of cases, trace the contacts and ensure quarantine, surveillance, research, serological tests to detect SARS-CoV-2 specific immunoglobulins to estimate the population exposure, strengthening public awareness and risk communication, strict implementation of private hygiene, use of mask, social distancing and other measures are thus suggested to prevent and control COVID-19 in Bangladesh. Adhering to hygiene rules will make it easier for us to overcome the double blow pandemic situation.
Sifat Kamal, student of Department of Marketing, University of Dhaka