Dengue Treatment: Hard to get amid Covid wave
Dengue patients have been struggling to find treatment at the public hospitals in the capital as the major facilities are burdened with Covid-19 patients.
The growing number of dengue cases since last month has been an additional pressure for the hospitals.
In the 24 hours preceding 8:00am yesterday, the number of individuals admitted to hospitals across the country with dengue was 287, the highest in a day this year, according to the Directorate General of Health Services. Only eight of the patients were outside Dhaka.
Of the 3,182 patients diagnosed with dengue this year, only 102 were outside Dhaka.
Nazmul Hossain, a resident of the capital's Shanir Akhra, who has dengue, went to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) around 7:00am yesterday. But the hospital authorities advised him to go to Mitford Hospital.
The two other public hospitals that dengue patients in Dhaka can go to are Shaheed Ahsanullah Medical College Hospital in Tongi and Aminbazar 20-Bed Hospital on the outskirts of the city.
Nazrul managed to get admitted to Mitford Hospital after three hours.
Lying on a bed at the medicine ward of Mitford last week, policeman Sadequl Islam, 38, told The Daily Star a similar story.
"I was taking treatment at the Central Police Hospital in Rajarbagh while staying home until Sunday last week. Then doctors referred me to the DMCH when my platelet count fell to 3,000," Sadequl said, adding that when he was taken to the DMCH, he was asked to go to Mitford.
Many patients like Nazmul and Sadequl, who went to DMCH, Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, Mugda Medical College Hospital and some other major facilities with dengue, said they did not get treatment there.
Some said they had to get admitted to private hospitals.
Sanowar Hossain, 35, a resident of Mayakanon, said he went to Mugda hospital on July 26, but was advised to go to the DMCH, which also refused to admit him.
"I'm now trying to get admitted to a private facility," said Sanwar.
DGHS data shows only 632 confirmed dengue patients had been admitted to public hospitals while 2,448 took treatment in private ones.
"The number of patients has been increasing in our hospital for the last few days as other big hospitals are not providing dengue treatment which is putting us under tremendous pressure," said Kazal Rekha, in-charge of nurses at medicine units 2 and 4 at Mitford.
If the number of patients increases further, two patients will be treated in a single bed, he said.
Mohammad Ali Habib, deputy director of Mitford, said the hospital has prepared a separate unit for dengue patients which will begin treating patients in a couple of days.
"A total of 144 patients are taking treatment at the hospital. Of them, 59 took admission in the last 24 hours. Among them, 25 are children, 71 men and 48 women," he said.
Prof Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, director general of DGHS, said, "Treatment of dengue patients will start at Lalkuthi hospital in Mirpur and Railway hospital in Kamalapur in a week."
An official of the DGHS said five hospitals have been prepared for dengue treatment and, if necessary, other hospitals will also be prepared.
A decision has been made to set up a dedicated dengue corner in every hospital where doctors can examine patients with dengue symptoms and take the steps necessary.
HM Nazmul Ahsan, associate professor at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College, said patients taking treatment at private hospitals was a matter of grave concern.
There is a national guideline for dengue treatment and the DGHS has trained doctors and nurses of government hospitals to abide by the guideline. But doctors and nurses of private hospitals are not trained and they do not follow the guideline, he said.
Besides, there is an organised dengue management system at the DMCH and Suhrawardy hospital. But these hospitals have mobilised their resources to treat Covid patients.
If prominent public hospitals kept some space for dengue treatment, the patients would have gotten better treatment, he said.