Covid-19 deaths, positivity rates on rise in rural Ctg
For the last couple of days, the number of deaths due to Covid-19 has been on the rise in the rural areas of Chattogram. Even the positivity rate remains higher compared to that of the port city.
According to experts, apathy towards following health rules, social transmission of the Delta variant and limitation of proper treatment facilities at local health complexes were the key reasons behind this.
Talking to The Daily Star, they termed the situation alarming and urged the authorities concerned to take necessary steps in this regard.
As of yesterday's report, seven persons died of Covid-19 in Chattogram on Sunday. Of them, six were from upazilas.
Meanwhile, 327 people tested positive out of 1,151 in the last 24 hours till 11:30pm on Sunday. The positivity rate was 28.41 percent. Of the detected patients, 100 were from upazilas with a positivity rate of 30.48 percent.
On Saturday, six out of seven patients who died from Covid-19 were from rural areas. Of the 300 detected patients, 96 were from upazilas.
Similarly on Friday, two out of three deceased were from upazilas and on Thursday, three out of five deceased were from outside the city. Only one patient died on Wednesday who was from an upazila while on Tuesday, three patients died and of them, two were from outside the city.
Meanwhile, 35 percent of total positive patients detected on Friday were from upazilas. The rate was 41 percent on Thursday, 50 percent on Wednesday and 38 percent on Tuesday.
The positivity and death rates which were around 20 percent and 21.74 percent in upazila level have been on the rise.
Contacted, public health expert Prof Dr Shakeel Ahmed, also head of Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (BITID) laboratory, said it is alarming that both spread and death rates have been increasing in rural areas.
He said lack of concern by people in rural areas and initiatives taken by the authorities were to blame for this.
"The social transmission of the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 has worsened the situation. In most cases, if a family member is infected, others also get infected," he said.
"Moreover, patients in rural areas don't get tested or admitted to hospitals on time for lack of awareness."
Besides, he said, "Most upazila health complexes do not have the facility of high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC). Many don't even have central oxygen supply. We had over a year to fix those but we couldn't."
Only three of 14 upazila health complexes in Chattogram have HFNC facility while eight of those have central oxygen supply system.
However, all health complexes have Covid-19 isolation beds.
Dr Mahfuzur Rahman, convener of Public Health Rights Protection Committee Chattogram, said alongside the government, social and political organisations should take the responsibility to make people in rural areas aware.
"If HFNC can be ensured in all health complexes, death rate would decrease to a great extent," he said.
Contacted, Chattogram civil surgeon Dr Sheikh Fazle Rabbi said HFNC can be operated only under the guidance of anesthetist experts, which they do not have in most upazila health complexes.
"But we are emphasising on ensuring central oxygen supply in all health complexes," he said.