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5 April, 2020 00:00 00 AM
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Telemedicine brings relief for patients amid COVID-19 scare

Many doctors have already taken up telemedicine due to coronavirus outbreak
RAFIQUL ISLAM AZAD, Dhaka

A Jatrabari resident experienced a sore throat and fever, both symptoms of a coronavirus infection. He immediately contacted Dr Manilal Aich and got a prescription over the phone. The doctor did not charge any fee for the consultation. The 50-year-old professional got relief from the ailment following the doctor's advice.

Dr Manilal Aich, head of the ENT department of the Mugdha Medical College and Hospital, said he started prescribing medicines over the phone following the coronavirus pandemic. "Telemedicine has become very important right now because of the coronavirus. It is benefiting people," he observed.

He, however, said that telemedicine should not be a practice during normal times.

The doctor said he could be contacted on 01711617735.

Dr ABM Abdullah, personal physician of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said many doctors have already taken up telemedicine because of the coronavirus outbreak. "Telemedicine should be adopted massively, as many doctors and patients are not going to hospitals and chambers in fear contracting an infection," he added.

Dr Abdullah suggested that physicians could also use video conferencing to treat people. They could also see test reports by this method, he said.

Dr Khan Abul Kalam Azad, principal of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), said they too have started offering telemedicine to treat patients. He also said the contact numbers of about 100 doctors of various departments have been given online so that patients could consult them over phone. Dt Azad, the head of the medicine department at DMCH, said they are giving advice to the patients through TV channels as well.

Dr Barkat Ullah of the National Institute of Diseases of the Chest and Hospital (NIDCH) said patients could take advice and prescriptions by interacting with doctors over the telephone or through video conferencing or email.

However, Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, founder of Ganasastha Kendra, said public hospitals should remain open in two shifts to cater to patients in the current situation.

Abdul Motin, 65, an asthma patient living in Jatrabari, said telemedicine will be helpful for non-coronavirus patients. He also said it would be great if the government issues a list of doctors who could be consulted over the phone.

Sources in the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said high-quality telemedicine services are being provided by hospitals at different levels across the country. Among them are two specialised hospitals (Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases), three district hospitals (Shatkhira, Nilphamari, and Gopalganj) and three sub-district hospitals (Pirgonj, Dakope, and Debhata).

Through this service patients admitted to district and sub-district level hospitals can take suggestions from doctors of specialized hospitals without visiting the higher level hospitals. Besides, webcams have been given to each sub-district and district medical colleges and post-graduate institute hospitals. These hospitals could also provide the telemedicine service using Skype or any other video conferencing platform, according to sources.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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