Cold wave has been blowing over the district of Pabna for the last few days. With the biting cold, various diseases are increasing day by day. Every day, more than 50 people, including children and the elderly, are being admitted to the 250-bed Pabna General Hospital with cold-related illnesses.
At present 210 patients are admitted in the pediatric and diarrhoea wards of the hospital. Patients and their relatives have to stay in the verandah and corridor of the hospital without getting a bed. A visit to the hospital on Sunday afternoon revealed that 60-70 patients were being admitted to the Pabna General Hospital every day suffering from diarrhea and fever including pneumonia. Since there are no beds in the hospital, most of the patients are accommodated in balconies or corridors. As there are more patients than the capacity, the concerned people including the doctors are struggling to treat them. Although the patients have been admitted to the hospital for a week, it is not possible to allocate beds for them. The emergency department has also seen increased patient pressure. Hundreds of people are huddled in three small rooms in the Children and Diarrhea Ward. No one was seen following the hygiene rules to prevent Covid-19 infection.
According to hospital sources, a small number of patients suffering from cold-related diseases are found in the district during the winter season every year. But the number of people getting sick in winter has been increasing due to mild cold wave for the last one week. Although there are 36 beds in the children's ward, there are 140 patients. The diarrhea ward has 70 patients against 16 beds. Most of the patients are staying on the balconies and corridor of the hospital. Over the last 10 days, the patient's pressure has increased at an alarming rate. At least 100 patients are being consulted by doctors in the emergency department every day. Pabna General Hospital statistics officer Sohail Rana said that an average of 50-60 patients are being admitted to the hospital every day suffering from diarrhea including pneumonia. Most of them are children and the elderly.
He said that till noon on January 16, 140 patients were admitted in the children's ward and 70 in the diarrhea ward. The number of beds in Pabna General Hospital is 250. Of these, 100 beds have been reserved for Corona patients, leaving 150 beds. But the hospital has an average of 450 to 500 patients. Fifteen nurses and five doctors of the children's ward are treating more than two hundred patients.
In the last 15 days, 820 patients have been admitted in the children's ward. Of these, more than 300 are pneumonia patients and more than 100 are diarrhea patients. The rest are suffering from various diseases including cold, fever, cough, thalassemia and convulsions.
Rozina Khatun, mother of Yusuf Ali, a child from Laxmikhol village in Dashuria, said, “Suddenly my son has been suffering from malnutrition for the last few days. The baby was diagnosed with pneumonia after being admitted to the hospital five days ago on the advice of a doctor. The pressure of so many people is no longer being tolerated. Even good people are getting sick.
Rumi Akhter, mother of Raihan Ali, a child from Naynamati village in Peur area, who is undergoing treatment at the hospital, said the child developed a cold and fever six days ago. The fever did not go away with the first aid. After being admitted to the hospital, diarrhea also occurred. Examination revealed pneumonia. He is undergoing treatment.
Sima Khatun, mother of Raihan from Rooppur, Pakshi, said that although she was admitted to the hospital for seven days till Sunday, she has not been able to get a seat yet. She is forced to stay on the verandah of the hospital.
After spending the night on the verandah, the boy's cold is not diminishing due to severe cold and fog. Mita Khatun, senior staff nurse of Pabna General Hospital's children's ward and Asmaul Husna, senior staff nurse of diarrhea ward said it was very cold at night and windy during the day. As a result, the number of children and elderly patients in the hospital has increased alarmingly. The incidence of pneumonia, diarrhea and fever in particular is on the rise. Doctors are struggling to provide services for the crisis. Despite the manpower crisis, quality medical services are being provided. The hospital has adequate stocks of saline and medicines. Assistant Director of Pabna General Hospital Dr. KM Abu Jafar said that due to patient pressure in the hospital, patients are not being admitted or treated as per the prescribed beds in any ward. Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person. At present there are 20 vacancies for doctors in the hospital. Talks are underway with higher authorities to increase the number of beds in the hospital.
Meanwhile, in addition to the district headquarters, eight other upazila health complexes of the district are also admitting people of different ages including children and the elderly. At least 500 patients have been admitted in eight health centers in the last one week. Pabna Civil Surgeon Manisar Chowdhury said that although there is an increase in cold-related diseases in Pabna, there is nothing to worry about yet.
Every year, at this time many people including children and the elderly are affected by various diseases due to cold. The number of patients has increased though. But so far the situation is under control. In order to Covid-19, authorities have advised everyone involved in patient treatment to follow the hygiene rules. The hospital has been instructed to continue round-the-clock treatment.