Screening slackens at land ports
Health screening at land ports has been sloth against the widespread occurrence of swine flu infection in the country.
Every day thousands of people are checking in and out through the country's 16 land ports for business and other purposes. But the heedless health screening at the ports is making people more vulnerable and exposed to the infectious flu.
At Benapole, no screening is done on the truckers and their helpers although around 1,000 of them check in and out through the port. It leads to put some 20,000 people of that area at risk of catching the pandemic flu.
Though two medical assistants were recruited for health screening of thousands of people at the port, no medical equipment was provided for them. The medical officers are just asking people about their health. In a situation when the swine flu epidemic is worsening in India, the Bangladesh government is not taking enough precaution to prevent entry of infected people through the land ports.
Against such a backdrop, no awareness campaign is taking place in the area where more than a thousand transport-workers stay together for days. They seem quite oblivious of swine flu and do not bother wearing masks.
The Upazila Health Complex is 10 kilometres away from the Benapole port.
Sharsha Upazila Health Officer Nazmul Ahsan said the two medical assistants check the passengers coming from India and it doesn't require equipment. If they trace out anyone with flu-like illness they would report it to Dhaka.
"There is nothing to panic," he further said, adding that there is enough stock of anti viral drugs for the swine flu patients.
Some 5,000 trucker and helpers check in the country through Hili land port of Panchagarh and Shona Masjid of Chapainawabganj without any checking, reports our Dinajpur correspondent.
Md Abdur Rahman Liton, general secretary of Hili Clearing & Forwarding Agents Association alleged that strict preventive measures are yet to be taken by the district health officials. He mentioned that no truckers and helpers of the port use mask.
The port sources said such lacking may lead to shutting of the port operation any time, if the disease spreads beyond control.
Sources said with no testing equipment, two health officers and a pharmacist assigned at Hili, Shona Masjid and Banglabandha are just asking few questions to the visitors and letting them go. Although about four months ago, two people have been trained for each district with a view to containing the epidemic flu.
The district administration officials also said there is no preparation to deal with the flu threat effectively as they do not have sufficient space to isolate the infected.
Contacted, the Civil Surgeon of Dinajpur Motiar Rahman said they have taken effective measures at the port area and no patient has been detected in the district yet.