The High Court yesterday ordered the authorities concerned of the government to procure safety gears including personal protective equipment (PPE) and supply those to doctors, nurses and staff members at all hospitals and clinics across the country to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In response to a writ petition, the court directed the health secretary to immediately form a five-member advisory committee to prepare a list of necessary health safety gears including PPEs, surgical masks, gloves, gowns, shoe covers, sanitiser and disinfected medicine in 48 hours to tackle the outbreak.
After getting the list, the authorities will collect the equipment in next seven days and then, the Directorate General of Health Services, Directorate of Drug Administration and Central Medicine Store Department will distribute those among doctors, nurses and staff across the country, the court said.
The HC also ordered the finance ministry to provide necessary funds and assistance for purchasing the equipment to tackle the pandemic.
Besides, the court issued a rule asking the authorities to explain in three weeks why they should not be directed to collect or procure or purchase necessary health safety equipment on an urgent basis to ensure safety of patients and healthcare personnel.
The HC bench of Justice Md Ashraful Kamal and Justice Sardar Md Rashed Jahangir came up with the order and rule following a writ petition filed by Advocate Aklasuddin Bhuiyan, Advocate Ripon Barai and Advocate Mahbubul Islam on behalf of Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh yesterday, seeking necessary orders.
The judges heard the petition and passed the order and issued the rule at their chamber room as they were not assigned to sit in the courtroom yesterday, petitioners' counsel Advocate Manzill Murshid told The Daily Star.
During hearing, Murshed told the court that as per the reports published in different newspapers there are shortage of health safety equipment in different hospitals and clinics and due to that reason many doctors and nurses are afraid to perform their duties.
Even in some cases, they were avoiding normal patients who have got viral fever, flu, cough etc, he said. Due to the shortage of effective health safety equipment, doctors and nurses are reluctant to serve patients, which ultimately deprive citizens from medical treatment as well as the affected from the right to life as guaranteed under article 32 of the constitution of Bangladesh.
Deputy Attorney Generals Debashis Bhatacharyya and Protikar Chakma represented the state.