POST TIME: 1 April, 2020 00:00 00 AM
Other healthcare delivery in time of COVID-19

Other healthcare delivery in time of COVID-19

The official number of COVID-19 patients, which is 51, and recorded five deaths from the disease in Bangladesh where first patient was identified on March 8 is still small. While this is good news for a densely-populated country like Bangladesh with poor public health delivery system, but the newly emerged condition in country’s different health centres, public or private, for treating patients of other diseases are very disturbing.

There are reports that patients with chronic diseases are now not only being deprived of treatment, due to the negligence they are dying as well. The presence of doctors and other health professionals have become thin in hospitals many of which are often refusing to admit patients of other diseases.

Some health professionals are showing reaction in such a way that only COVID-19 patients can have the symptom of fever or cough. Reportedly also, many public health professionals are not attending their workplaces now. Before there was an acute shortage of PPE for health workers, but now the problem is fairly addressed. Yet patients of other diseases are not getting their desired services. Many doctors have totally stopped their private practice.  

The doctors with full protective gear in a hospital were seen inquiring a patient about her disease sitting at a table around 10 yards away from the patient. Heath professionals need to be careful about their safety, but the overall present behaviour of some health professionals as well as hospitals is presenting a scenario of chaos and giving a very wrong impression of the call of their profession.

Patients of all diseases, including the maternal and neonatal ones, need life saving care and authorities in Bangladesh must ensure that they get that all over the country. This can be done by preparing hospitals or separate units in general hospitals dedicated only to treat COVID-19 patients or patients with similar symptoms. Patients with other diseases must receive the required health services as usual separately.

The health authorities in Bangladesh, though late, have started work on this but now is the time to ensure that the new system is working. The WHO has clear guidelines on how to manage regular patients of other diseases in the present scenario. If there is an absence of policy in this regard, the authorities can positively follow the WHO guidelines.