Hospital turns filthy as patient pressure surges
Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital, the only large medical facility in Barishal division, is in derelict condition as the number of patients continue to swell amid rising Covid-19 infections.
During a visit to the hospital yesterday, most of the wards on the second floor and above were found to have no access to drinking water. Even most toilets do not have water.
The hospital was filled with waste, there were electrical problems, and plaster was seen coming off the walls.
Meanwhile, after hearing news of the lockdown, hundreds of people rushed to the main outpatient department of the hospital. On-duty doctors said usually 800-1,200 receive outpatient service every day, but the number reached 2,000 yesterday.
Divisional Commissioner Saiful Islam Badal expressed anger over the hospital's condition at a virtual meeting centring Covid-19 yesterday.
"Please fix the hospital's environment. In addition, tell me what action will be taken to resolve the situation," he said.
Most of the speakers there appealed to authorities of the hospital to make it comfortable for patients.
HM Saiful Islam, the hospital's director, said, "I visited the second floor today [yesterday] and saw that there was no water."
He said despite the dilapidated condition, Public Works Department (PWD) was not doing anything to solve the problems. Currently, there is no access to water for most of the wards, and issues with electricity are present due to poor supply lines. Two new lifts have still not been installed, and there is no separate electricity sub-station for the Covid-19 situation. Most of the air-conditioners are also out of order, he said.
In a meeting at Barishal Club on Saturday afternoon about the Covid-19 situation, Barishal City Corporation Mayor Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah also expressed concerns over the hospital's condition.
The mayor said the health secretary was making sure that Barishal gets what it needs.
Meanwhile, a patient admitted at the hospital said that the elevators are sometimes non-functional.
Even the premises are dirty because they are not regularly cleaned, he said.
Another patient admitted at the Covid-19 ward said the sink and toilet are dirty, the stairs are broken, and the floors are not cleaned every day.
Asked about it, the hospital's director said its workforce is one-fourth of the requirement. No separate staff was recruited for the 150-bed Covid-19 ward. As a result, workers from outside do the work, especially cleaning. If enough manpower is not provided, the system at the facility will collapse, he said.
Contacted, Oliver Guda, executive engineer of PWD, Barishal, said, "We are trying to solve the water problem."
About the inadequacy of the hospital's facilities, he said these can be resolved if all other work budgets are available. There have been some problems in the last fiscal, as Tk 1.5 crore was deducted from the budget, he said.
RISE IN KHULNA'S COVID CASES WORRIES BARISHAL
Meanwhile, as coronavirus cases keep increasing in Khulna, health officials of Barishal division are worried about its districts bordering with the neighbouring division.
The officials are anxious as the infection rate in Pirojpur and Jhalakathi districts, both bordering Khulna division, are getting worse since last week.
Divisional Health Director Dr Basudeb Kumar Das said, "We think that delta variants from the border districts of Khulna are slowly spreading into the rest of Barishal division."
All road and naval communication between Khulna and Barishal divisions have been halted from Friday, as per the recommendation of the Directorate General of Health Services, sources at the divisional administration said.
In a virtual meeting of high-level officials on Friday, the divisional commissioner delineated the overall situation. Barishal City Corporation Mayor Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah, Barishal deputy commissioner, divisional health officials and police took part in the programme.
Divisional Commissioner Saiful Islam Badal said there is no alternative to strict lockdown to deal with the situation.
Health officials said the only Covid-19 dedicated hospital is Barishal's Sher-e Bangla Medical College Hospital. As a result, all Covid-19 patients are being sent to this hospital, which is putting all six lakh residents of the city under high risk of contamination.
The hospital's director Dr HM Saiful Islam said patient pressure is much higher than before, and the infection rate has gone up to 33 percent. He suggested that those who come from other districts be quarantined separately.
Divisional health director's office said among the 131 infected people across the division on Saturday, 31 were from Pirojpur, 34 from Jhalakathi, and 54 from Barishal.
So far, 299 people have died in Barishal division, while 17,018 have been infected there.