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Lockdown forces many patients to seek medical advice online


Published : 15 May 2020 09:39 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 11:39 AM

Taking advantage of remote healthcare through highspeed telecommunication on the internet, many medical practitioners have recently resorted to practicing telemedicine.

Telemedicine allows healthcare professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients from a distance using telecommunications technology.

In the face of countrywide movement restrictions due to Covid-19 crisis, doctors are said to be providing online prescriptions to patients.
Shohel Tarafdar is a grocery vendor from capital’s Azimpur area. He recently sought medical advice using his android mobile device via WhatsApp. He said that he would not have the treatment without the doctor’s advice but most importantly he mentioned that he did not have to travel and be exposed in public places amid the risks of corona infection.

Tanvir Ahmed, a private university student, also sought similar advice on his mobile phone recently.
Tanvir said, “It is indeed a great convenience in such a situation of general shut down. In fact, it is also a health risk to physically be present at the doctor’s chambers.”

Like Shohel and Tanvir many sick patients are seeking treatment of specialized doctors using such distance communication via their cellphones.

Z M Kabir Chowdhury, a private medical college teacher, said, “It is certainly convenient for the patients to seek treatment online but the physicians who are keeping their private consultation chambers shut would also benefit from such distance advising arrangement as they too necessarily do not come in physical contact with their patients.”

Asked aboutproviding healthcare advice online, the former Vice Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) ProfessorPran Gopal Dutta said, “Technology has made many things easy for people. Let’s take the example of the current situation. Thousands of patients and doctors are able to interact online at the convenience of using telecommunication. In fact, a patient in a remote village is also able to access and take advice of a specialist doctor.”

ProfessorKanak KantiBarua, current VC of BSMMU, said, “We have introduced online professional medical treatment services for patients who cannot travel to our hospital. In fact, for the safety of both, we are encouraging patients to seek advice on phone or through video conferencing.”

Telemedicine is nothing new in Bangladesh.
It was launched in 2016 at the Department of Medicine of the Dhaka Medical College. The chief Coordinator of the telemedicine team of the Department Associate Professor Mohammad Zayed Hossain Himel said he also regularly advises patients through video calls.

“We have daily schedules to give professional medical advice to our patients online through video conferencing. We speak to patients in upazils and often exchange video images to diagnose patients” he said.