Further cut in facilities in Dhaka likely

Ershad Kamol | Published: 00:30, Sep 15,2020


Health secretary Md Abdul Mannan on Monday hinted at a further reduction in COVID-19 treatment facilities in the capital arguing that doctors and equipment remained unused in those facilities.

But patients in the district towns and rural areas, he added, were facing problems in getting expected treatments at the hospitals and health centres.

After visiting a temporary isolation centre at the Bashundhara Convention Centre, Mannan told New Age that most of the beds of the isolation centre remained vacant while doctors and health service providers were passing almost idle time.

‘I found only 23 patients at the 1,500-bed isolation centre at Bashundhara where we have appointed 144 doctors,’ Mannan said.

In addition, he said, a lot of equipment remained unused for months while the government was paying the rental fees for them, he said.  

 ‘We are thinking of using these facilities for the treatment of general patients in the district towns,’ he said.

He, however, expressed satisfaction with the government facilities for testing at the DNCC Market in Mohakhali and the quarantine centre for the expatriates at Diabari.

Health ministry officials said that they paid Tk 38 lakh per month as rent for operating the isolation centre at the Bashundhara Convention Centre.

Earlier on September 6, the health ministry directed the Directorate General of Health Services to stop COVID-19 treatment at the Holy Family Hospital and resume its normal treatment activities.

The DGHS on August 27 in a letter to the health ministry requested it to suspend operations of the 10 dedicated hospitals, including the isolation centre at Bashundhara.

Initially, the government allocated 22 hospitals, including 15 government ones, only for the treatment COVID-19 infected people, government officials said.

They said that 70 per cent of the beds in these hospitals remained unutilised as people preferred home isolation to hospitalisation.

Public health experts, however, criticised the government for reducing COVID-19 treatment facilities when the death rate was still very high.

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