Surge in Dengue Cases: Dedicated hospitals still not ready
Amid the rise in dengue cases, the government on Monday dedicated six hospitals for treating dengue patients. However, it has been four days, but only two hospitals have started treatment till yesterday.
Officials blamed shortage of healthcare professionals and logistics for the delay. They are hopeful to start soon.
Among the six hospitals, Sir Salimullah Medical College Hospital in Dhaka and Shaheed Ahsan Ullah Master General Hospital in Tongi have started dedicated treatment.
Asked yesterday, Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), said, "We will look into the matter."
He said, besides the dedicated hospitals, they have already instructed some other public facilities, including Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital, Dhaka Medical College and Hospital and Mugda Medical College and Hospital, to provide dengue treatment, as Covid-19 patients are decreasing.
DGHS on August 23 announced six hospitals dedicated to dengue patients, which also included Railway General Hospital at Kamalapur, 20-bed Aminbazar Govt Hospital in Dhaka, Lalkuthi Hospital in Mirpur, and 31-bed Kamrangirchar Hospital in Dhaka.
These correspondents visited the dengue-dedicated hospitals on Wednesday and Thursday and found such a scenario.
Meanwhile, more and more dengue patients are requiring hospitalisation, as cases continue to rise across the country.
At least 184 people with dengue fever were admitted to hospitals in the country in 24 hours till 8am yesterday, according to DGHS data, taking the total cases this year to 9,304.
Forty people have died of dengue in the country this year, all of whom succumbed to the disease between July and August. Twelve people died in July while 28 died in August so far.
Among the infected, 2,443 took treatment at government and autonomous hospitals, while 6,191 were treated at private hospitals across the country.
Dengue patients have been struggling to get treatment at the capital's public hospitals, as the major facilities are burdened with Covid-19 patients.
HM Nazmul Ahsan, associate professor at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College, earlier said patients taking treatment at private hospitals was a matter of grave concern.
There is a national guideline for dengue treatment, and DGHS has trained doctors and nurses of government hospitals to abide by the guideline. But the ones working at private hospitals are not trained, and they, in many cases, do not follow the guideline, he said.
Dr Ripon Das, divisional medical officer of Bangladesh Railway Hospital, told The Daily Star on Wednesday that they did not get any directives to run the hospital as a dedicated one.
"We are going to send a requisition to the ministry concerned to run the hospital as a dengue-dedicated one and will prepare 100 beds in this regard," he said.
Ripon said they need reagents in their lab, at least one pathologist and a lab technician, as they only have a single pathologist now.
He said dengue patients need 24-hour lab support and only one person cannot provide that.
"We have only one indoor doctor… We need more doctors, medicine and cardiology consultants, as well as 10 nurses," he said.
At Kamrangirchar hospital, there are eight doctors, three of whom are now working (on deputation) at the Covid-19 unit of a jail hospital.
"There is no consultant [medicine], and it's not possible to run the dengue unit without a medical officer, as dengue patients need special care," said a doctor of Kamrangirchar hospital.
Another doctor said fluid management and continuous monitoring are crucial to treat dengue patients, which is why treating them is more difficult than Covid-19 patients.
To run the 31-bed hospital, its authorities said they need necessary sufficient workforce, lab facilities and other forms of support. They also mentioned that they have introduced NS1 (dengue) test from Thursday.
Meanwhile at Amin Bazar hospital, there are six doctors and three nurses, who have been conducting dengue tests (NSI and CVC) in two shifts for the last one month.
Saidun Nahar, its resident medical officer (RMO), said they referred patients who needed hospital admission to Savar upazila hospital.
A doctor of Amin Bazar hospital said they have prepared the beds for dengue patients but could not start the service due to lack of adequate workforce and logistic support.
The situation was similar at Lalkuthi hospital.
"We are also providing free dengue tests to patients," said a doctor of the hospital.
Meanwhile, Dr Parvez Hussain, RMO of Ahsan Ullah hospital, said they have kept 30 beds for dengue patients and have treated 282 patients at the hospital so far.