There has been a sharp rise in the number of patients suffering from cold-related diseases at Thakurgaon Sadar Hospital, while low-income people in Lalmonirhat are facing the biting cold without warm clothes.
Thakurgaon Sadar Hospital is struggling to cope with the situation due to shortage of manpower and accommodation, our Thakurgaon correspondent reports.
During a visit to the hospital yesterday, this correspondent saw that most of the patients were staying on the floors and verandas as the wards cannot accommodate them.
Civil Surgeon (CS) Dr Abu Mohammad Khairul Kabir said 385 patients were admitted to the hospital, adding that 167 of them are staying in the children's ward while the rest are accommodated in other wards and verandas.
Most of the patients have been admitted with cold-related complaints, but it is hard to provide quality service due to shortage of doctors and staff, he said.
In three days, at least 167 child patients were admitted to the children's ward of the hospital, although there are only 18 seats.
Of them, 73 were affected with diarrhoea, 56 with pneumonia and 38 with other cold-related diseases, said Dr Shahajahan Nawaj, senior child consultant.
Dr Shahajahan said only two doctors, including him, are working in the children's ward with ten nurses. Despite the pressure, they are trying their best to tackle the situation, he added.
The ongoing low temperature coupled with cold wind causes diarrhoea, bronchitis, pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses. Children are more vulnerable to these infections because their immune system is weak. If the patients come to hospital in time it is easy to give treatment.
"The situation is likely to improve when the weather becomes normal," he said.
“I admitted my 18-month-old son to Thakurgaon Sadar Hospital on Tuesday morning as he was affected with diarrhoea. We are staying on the floor due to shortage of space in the children's ward," said Rabbina Khatun, wife of Abdur Razzak of Nargoon village in Thakurgaon Sadar upazila.
Marjina Begum, wife of Kalachand of Chondipur village in Sadar upazila, admitted her eight-month-old pneumonia-affected son there on Monday evening. She is also staying at the hospital corridor.
Momena Begum, 65, wife of Botu Mohammad of Kochubari village, was admitted on Tuesday with breathing problem. She is staying on the veranda, and it is hard to sleep on the floor due to the cold, she said.
Thakurgaon Department of Agriculture Extension recorded the lowest temperature as 12 degrees Celsius yesterday.
Meanwhile, many low-income people in Lalmonirhat are suffering in the severe cold due to lack of warm clothes, reports our correspondent.
“As we have no warm clothes we keep warm by burning straw at night and in the morning,” said Aslima Khatun, 46, a distressed woman at the railway station platform in Lalmonirhat town.
“We cannot sleep peacefully during the night as biting cold makes us uncomfortable,” she said, adding that she and her two children are suffering as they do not have warm clothes.
“We get up early in the morning as we cannot tolerate the biting cold. We burn straw to keep warm,” said Mansur Ali, 56, a distressed man in station platform area in the town. “Cold wave has paralysed our living,” he said, adding that he could not go out for work.
Akashi Bewa, 62, a distressed woman who lives on the station platform, said she feels severe pain at night due to the intense cold as she has no warm clothes.
Rickshaw puller Suresh Chandra Das, 48, of Sadhutari village in Sadar upazila said he goes out with his rickshaw tolerating the biting cold, but he is very upset as there are very few passengers. “We get some passengers during daytime but there are no passengers at night,” he said.
Char farmer Abdar Ali, 58, of Teesta river char Kalmati in the upazila, said they could not stay for a long time in the crop field due to biting cold, so their daily farm work is being hampered seriously.
Lalmonirhat Sadar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Jayashree Rani Roy told this correspondent that warm clothes, especially blankets, are being distributed every day among the cold-hit ultra-poor people in slums, flood prone areas and chars.
The meteorological office in Rangpur said the lowest temperature was 13.5 degrees Celsius yesterday, while it was 12.8 degrees Celsius on Tuesday afternoon.