At peace, finally
She finally lost her protracted battle against death. After suffering acutely for over 18 months, she died yesterday from crippling injuries caused by the collapse of Rana Plaza.
Zaheda Begum, 25, was a sewing machine helper at New Wave Bottoms Ltd., a garment factory housed on the third floor of Rana Plaza. Although she was rescued from under the rubble four days later, the injuries she received to her head and backbone proved to be debilitating.
She has remained bed-ridden ever since. Her death was precipitated by a lack of proper treatment that her family could not afford with the compensation money alone, her siblings said.
Zaheda received Tk 95,000 as compensation from Primark Buyer, a foreign company. She has yet to receive any financial assistance from BGMEA or the government, said Shaheda Begum, her elder sister.
The compensation money was spent on her treatment and maintenance, said Rasel Rana, her younger brother.
Rana works at a shop in Savar. He looked after Zaheda who could barely move and was jobless too. They were living in a rented house at Dokkhin Bokterpur of Savar.
"We did not have to pay any doctors at hospitals. We just needed to buy the medicine which was expensive," said Rana.
Rasel Rana said she took treatment at different hospitals including
the Combined Military Hospital, Gonoshastho Kendra Hospital at Nabinagar, General Hospital in Savar and Dhaka Medical College and Hospital for different durations in the past 18 months.
At last she was admitted at the DMCH in June and was released from there in the middle of last month although her condition was worsening.
“Doctors requested us not to take her home as she needed an operation. But we could afford neither an operation nor the expenses required to maintain her attendants," said Shaheda, explaining why they took her home against doctors' instructions.
Zaheda left behind her seven-year-old daughter Lima Akter and husband Rezaul Karim, 32, a day labourer.
The multi-storey Rana Plaza which housed at least five garment factories, a private bank and a market collapsed on April 24, 2013. At least 1,136 people were killed and scores maimed and badly injured in the incident.
Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana and owners of the garment factories had forced the staffs and workers of the factories to work inside the building even after cracks were found in the building, according to a probe by the Criminal Investigation Department which is in its final stage.
The deadly collapse shook the whole world and brought the question of Bangladeshi workers' safety and rights at garment factories to the fore.