The number of people diagnosed with dengue fever this year has broken all previous records. A total of 10,148 people were hospitalised with dengue fever last year while the number reached 16,253 before the end of July this year.
It was reported in the media last month that Dhaka’s public and private hospitals alike were struggling to ensure treatment of such a huge number of dengue patients. In the two weeks that followed, the disease spread to almost all the other districts. The district hospitals too are now struggling to treat an influx of patients.
The number of hospitalised patients exceeded 50,000 as of 17 August. And the number is increasing.
The prevailing scenario indicates that the outbreak this year has surpassed all previous experience. Efficiency, quality and competence of the healthcare system of a country are tested and shortcomings are revealed in such an emergency. Such situations also bring out positive sides too.
Media reports point to the utmost sincerity of physicians to ensure quality treatment for dengue patients. They are working overtime to meet the demands of the patients. A 40-bed dengue treatment corner has been opened in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU). Dhaka Medical College Hospital’s (DMCH) emergency department has effectively become a dengue treatment centre. Dengue patients were treated in every nook and cranny of different wards of the hospital as it was struggling to meet the demands of the ever increasing number of patients. Specialised corners were opened in every floor for critical patients. A makeshift unit for treating dengue patients has been opened in Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn And Plastic Surgery unit of DMCH. Physicians are working overtime there too.
The gastro liver institute in Tejgaon is also being used for dengue treatment. According to the Directorate General of Health Services, 10 medical teams have been formed to oversee dengue treatment in public and private hospitals. Also, dengue treatment centres have been opened in government general hospitals.
The success of such steps of DGHS depends mostly on the physicians. News reports highlight the commitment of the physicians. They treated dengue patients without enjoying their Eid-ul-Azha holiday. According to reports, 8 physicians and 28 nurses of a city hospital themselves were diagnosed with dengue while treating patients.
However, the situation also reveals how helpless the physicians are rendered by the disproportional ratio of physicians to patients. The number of nurses is also inadequate. Reports of unhealthy state of hospitals due to lack of cleaners appeared in the media.
The spirit showed by physicians to treat dengue patients despite all odds is definitely praiseworthy.