While healthcare workers have been risking their lives to fight Covid-19, "some media" are breaking their morale through "illogical criticism", Director General of the health directorate Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam said today.
He said this at a virtual press conference from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in the presence of officials of the directorate's different units.
The DGHS chief said that they have seen journalists as comrades from the beginning during the coronavirus pandemic.
"But some criticism in the media are breaking our morale. If we make a mistake, it is normal that there will be criticism. But if someone misleads people through criticism without knowing or understanding or looking for details, we are not okay with that," Prof Khurshid Alam said.
He mentioned that doctors, nurses, health department, health ministry and employees of the healthcare sector have been working tirelessly, risking their lives.
"In this situation, stand with us…. We can be wrong. If anyone brings these to our attention, we can correct ourselves," Prof Kurshid said.
Coming down heavily on the media about recent reporting over the Bashundhara Field Hospital, he said, "The hospital has not vanished at all. It was set up under a tent. We had to shift the equipment from there as those could be damaged. Those were not being used due to lack of patients at that time."
"The Bashundhara hospital cost more than Tk 60 lakh per month to run. But there were only 15 to 20 patients. The hospital had 400-strong manpower including doctors and nurses. Besides, more than a thousand officers and employees, including security personnel, were working there," he said.
He also alleged that the DNCC Coronavirus Hospital was wrongly presented in the media.
The news was carried out without any inquiry, the DG said.
"Media reported that we are wasting government money to build hospital instead of improving the previous one already in use. But the truth is -- we have a 200-bed ICU ward in the previous establishment of the DNCC Isolation Centre.
They have installed 900 more general beds on the nine floors with oxygen supply to each bed, he said.
So, it was not possible to accommodate everything in the previous establishment, he added.
About different equipment including the ICUs in stock, the DG said, "We have a central store. What are its functions? ICU beds lying idle is not right. Installing ICU beds only doesn't serve purpose, operation is an issue too. If we did not store 300 ICUs, then how could we install 200 ICU beds in DNCC?"
Directors of different units of the DGHS also spoke of the progress the DGHS made during the last year as part of Covid-19 management.
About the ICU equipment waiting for release at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for months, Dr Nazmul Haque, line director (Disease Control) at the DGHS, said, "There were some procedural issues which have been lifted now. We will soon collect that equipment."
Other directors said the DGHS has continued every regular healthcare activity including regular vaccinations and other healthcare services during the pandemic.
Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora, additional director general of the health services, said the government is exploring alternative sources of Covid-19 vaccines.