Matlab Hospital, a haven of hope

Amidst the coronavirus panic, the healthcare services in the government and private hospitals of Matlab South upazila of Chandpur, have become limited in the last two months. In this situation, icddr,b’s Matlab Hospital has turned to a haven of hope for local women and children. In addition to providing diarrhoeal disease treatment, the hospital has also been offering maternal and general care for some time now.

According to the hospital, 278 women have received antenatal, perinatal and postpartum care from 1 May to 9 May. During this period, 7 normal deliveries took place. And 24 children of the zero to five year age group have received treatment for cold, fever and dysentery. Eight preterm babies were provided care in the Kangaroo Mother Care unit and 6 infants were treated in the special unit. All 302 mothers and children who received care have recovered and returned home.

icddr,b’s senior medical officer Dr. Chandra Shakhar Das said that primarily this hospital treats patients for diarrhoeal diseases including cholera. But due to lockdown and fear of COVID-19, diarroheal disease patients are coming in fewer numbers. During this pandemic, the hospital is providing healthcare to mothers and children with special arrangements.

The hospital also said that, on an average about 34 mothers (mother and child) received care in the nine days. These mothers are from different upazilas of Chandpur and nearby areas. Until 3 May, 70 mothers and children were treated at this hospital.

While visiting the hospital yesterday, every ward was found to be filled with patients. In order to prevent COVID-19 exposure, physicians and nurses are treating patients with extreme caution, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

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Shahnaz Begum (21), a pregnant mother from Dashpara upazila, said that she was given necessary treatment and advice. This hospital is their last resort during this pandemic. With her physical problems she had been running to government and private hospitals over last few days but didn’t get treatment. Due to the fear of coronavirus infection physicians are not even writing prescriptions let alone admitting patients.

icddr,b’s senior medical officer Dr. Chandra Shakhar Das said that primarily this hospital treats patients suffering from diarrhoeal diseases including cholera. But due to lockdown and fear of COVID-19 infection, diarroheal disease patients are coming in fewer numbers. The hospital has 70 beds but during emergency this can be extended to 140-150 beds to provide care. During this pandemic, with the same human resources the hospital is providing healthcare to mothers and children with special arrangements. They have taken this step since March. They have all the required medical equipment, physicians, nurses and other human resources.

Chandra Shakhar Das added that amidst the risk of being infected, the physicians and nurses of this hospital are treating the patients with utmost care and sincerity keeping in mind the safety issues. Special attention is given to ensure that every patient receives proper care. They are working relentlessly out of moral obligation and sense of responsibility.