Hospitals across the country are prepared to serve patients with dengue fever during the Eid holidays, Health Minister Zahid Maleque has said.
“We have trained 2,000 doctors. Our medicine specialists helped us with that. We have prepared a protocol, which has been distributed everywhere, including at private hospitals. Trained doctors have been sent to districts and upazilas,” he told the news agency on Thursday in an interview at his Secretariat office.
The minister said they have already allocated Tk 10 lakh for each district hospital and Tk 2 lakh for each upazila hospital to buy anything they need in order to locally manage patients.
“We hope there will be no problem. Even then, any problem they (district and upazila hospitals) face, they will be able to directly contact us. We’ll always be in office, even on Eid day,” he said.
The mosquito-borne viral disease could spread in districts and upazilas with people leaving Dhaka to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha with their dear and near ones.
“We have ordered upazila hospital authorities to make a separate dengue corner. I have visited some district hospitals and found that about 90 percent patients in those hospitals travelled back from Dhaka,” the health minister said.
“We have also prepared four hospitals in Dhaka for any sudden spike: Sheikh Hasina Burn and Plastic Surgery Institute, Sheikh Russell Digestive Unit, new expanded site of Nitor (National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedic Rehabilitation) and Shaheed Suhrawardhy Medical College and Hospital,” he said.
“The burn unit opens on Friday, while the other three will be functional from Saturday. I hope those will not be needed but still we are prepared.”
“We have also opened a hotline -- 16263,” the minister added.
This year, mosquitoes are breeding 12 times more than before, Zahid Maleque claimed.
“Our mandate is to ensure medical care for patients and we are doing that... All of our hospitals are overloaded. Still they have managed to treat thousands of extra patients during this outbreak. Our doctors, nurses and staff are all working. Nobody is getting any holiday.”
About logisitical preparations by the government to tackle the crisis, he said, “We have arranged everything from testing kits to intra-venous saline. We even made dengue tests free in government hospitals, and capped the price to Tk 500 for private hospitals. We have imported 800,000 dengue testing kits. We still have 200,000 in stock after supplying kits across Bangladesh. Kits are coming in every day.”
He also thanked the prime minister for her support, adding, “The premier was always in touch from London. She gave us instructions.”
There is no specific treatment for dengue or severe dengue, but according to the World Health Organization (WHO), early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates below one percent.
“We don’t expect a single death. Many patients died due to late arrival to hospitals. Those who come for treatment at the beginning and follow doctors’ instruction get well,” the minister said.
Dengue prevention and control depends on effective vector control measures against the carrier of the disease -- Aedes mosquito. The health minister urged people to be aware of the disease and take preventive measures that include sleeping under mosquito nets. According to WHO mosquito expert for the Southeast Asia region, the Aedes mosquito does not sit on the wall. It hides in a dark corner such as under the bed, table, chair, or behind the curtain or hanging clothes. The expert also suggested cleaning all pots, buckets, tyres or anything where clean water can accumulate, to prevent breeding.