The Covid-19 outbreak has resulted in a 10 percent decline in the government's expanded programme on immunisation (EPI) coverage in Gazipur and adjacent areas in March compared to February, said a Care Bangladesh report.
Under the programme, 98.4 percent children were immunised in February. It reduced to 88.3 percent in March, the report added.
The outbreak has also resulted in a 35 percent reduction in TT vaccination services. In terms of family planning, there was a 91 percent reduction in child delivery services, and 66 percent and 87 percent reduction in prenatal and postnatal care services respectively in a month, the report added.
The report titled "Rapid Assessment Findings on Covid-19 Effects on Urban Health" was shared during an online discussion arranged jointly by Care Bangladesh and The Daily Star today.
It was prepared after interviews were conducted both on telephone and in-person with 141 respondents (female 80, male 61) between April 23 to 26 in Gazipur city, Savar of Dhaka and Bhaluka municipality of Mymensingh.
There was a fifty percent decline in total number of patients in Gazipur's four upazila health complexes between February and March.
The number of general patients in February was 1,26,725 which reduced to 65,220 in March.
Due to the unavailability of doctors and routine health services in the upazila health complexes, patient flow increased in community clinics, family welfare centres, and union sub centers, the report added.
In Gazipur, 24 percent of the doctors, 15 percent nurses and six percent frontline health workers tested positive for Covid-19 during the research time.
The number of health workers in Gazipur district is 516. Due to the outbreak, 291 health workers were in home quarantine and 31 in institutional quarantine, added the report.
Family planning services were also hampered as 80 percent satellite family planning clinics can no longer operate because house or spot owners are not providing them any space for sessions.
A total of 67 female participants were asked whether they faced any problems in their personal or family life due to Covid-19 crisis.
Out of them, 97 percent respondents mentioned they faced personal or family issues, 38 percent said they got involved in conflict with their husbands, and 33 percent complained about being physically abused by their husbands.
Addressing the discussion, Gazipur Civil Surgeon Khairuzzaman said they faced some problems regarding EPI coverage but they were able to overcome those.
He said 25 new doctors have been appointed in the district recently and with the additional doctors the civil surgeon's office was trying to provide necessary health services in the district.
Addressing as chief guest, Gazipur City Corporation Mayor Jahangir Alam said they are ready to provide any sort of support to health service workers to fight the pandemic.
In his welcome address, Care Bangladesh Deputy Country Director Prabodh Devkota said collective action from all including donors, NGOs, government and private sector actors was required to fight the pandemic.
Jahirul Alam, head of Urban Health, Care Bangladesh presented the report while the discussion was addressed, among others, by Mohiuddin Osmani, joint chief (planning) of Health Ministry.