Sylhet admin officials using PPE instead of doctors face social media criticism

At a time when personal protective equipment (PPE) are in high demand by doctors and caregivers, administrative officials in Sylhet were seen using those in violation of the directives circulated by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

The directive on use of PPE for Covid-19 was circulated on March 15 and it stated that those should only be used by caregivers or doctors who come into direct contact with virus-affected patients.

In a Facebook post by Sylhet's Companiganj Upazila Nirbahi Officer Suman Acharjee this morning, administrative officials were seen wearing some of the PPEs provided to them and taking a picture, our Sylhet correspondent reports.

The upazila administration had been provided 12 PPEs for health staffers, but nine were kept by the administration.

Contacted, UNO Suman said, "We have directives to purchase safety gears for our use and some of them are provided by the livestock department. We kept some for our use for fighting the virus outbreak if the situation worsens."

"I was not informed about the directive of DGHS on use of PPEs and if it's really not for us to use, I will preserve them for the future or hand them over to the health staffers if they need them," he said.

Dr Debapada Ray, Sylhet divisional director of health, said, "PPEs are not for the administrative personnel, not for me either, as we do not come into direct contact with the patients. These should be used by the doctors and caregivers who come into close contact with the patients."

M Kazi Emdadul Islam, deputy commissioner of Sylhet, said, "There are no directives to buy PPEs for administrative officials but they also need protection for the time being. Those who come into close contact for ensuring home quarantine of suspected patients might need them. Otherwise, I will ask them to preserve these to use in desperate times."

The photos uploaded by the UNO and on the official page of the upazila administration were taken down at the time of filing this report.

To fight coronavirus, doctors are being provided with freshly purchased PPEs along with those in stock from the Department of Livestock Services (DLS).


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