Intern doctors on strike demanding PPE
Intern doctors of Jalalabad Ragib-Rabeya Medical College Hospital in Sylhet are on strike, demanding personal protective equipment (PPE).
Some 150 doctors of Sylhet's first private medical college hospital started the strike on Monday. As of filing this report last night, they were continuing work abstention.
Yesterday, they placed a three-point demand to hospital authorities: ensuring PPE for all healthcare providers at the hospital, taking liability if anyone from the hospital gets infected with coronavirus, and special measures to bar patients' attendants.
The protesters said they placed their demands more than a week ago but only some senior doctors were given PPE.
Contacted, Dr Arman Ahmed Shiplu, deputy director of the hospital, said, "PPE are very scarce these days. We got only a few which were provided to doctors at the special corner dedicated to treat patients with Covid-19 like symptoms."
"We're trying to get more PPE soon and urge intern doctors to withdraw the strike."
He also mentioned that healthcare services at the hospital are not being hampered due to the strike, as the flow of patients have been reduced to one-third.
On March 19, some 200 intern doctors at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital also called a strike over the same demand.
They, however, started attending to patients four hours later, as authorities supplied masks, gloves and sanitisers to those working in vulnerable units, said Iqbal Hasan, general secretary of RMCH Interns' Council.
POOR SUPPLY WORRIES DOCTORS
Many public hospitals across the country have set up isolation units for coronavirus patients, but a lot of them lack resources and equipment to provide services.
Visiting hospitals in 20 districts on March 17-19, this newspaper found that there were not enough safety gears for doctors and nurses. Physicians and nurses said they were worried about being infected.
The medical staff there didn't receive training on how to deal with coronavirus patients. The authorities in those districts were not conducting public awareness activities either.