National, Front Page

Too little for too many

Ventilators, ICU beds still insufficient

Published : 22 Apr 2020 09:39 PM | Updated : 01 Sep 2020 07:36 PM

Many of the listed hospitals in the capital, dedicated exclusively for coronavirus patients, are yet to be ready to provide treatment, sources said. In these 17 listed hospitals, only 183 ventilators have been provided for the treatment of patients suffering from corona illness, including shortness of breath. These hospitals have only 133 beds of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for critical patients.

It is learnt that 90 of the ventilators have no monitors.There is a shortage of about 10 such essentials materials to critical response of patients. Without these ICU beds and ventilators are ineffective. Public health experts say ventilators and ICUs are vital for Covid-19 sufferers. At least 3,000 ICUs and 5,000 ventilators need to be prepared to deal with Corona in proportion to the population.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 80-82 percent of all patients infected with Covid-19 recover with simple but effective and timely treatment. The remaining 18-20 percent of the patients have to be treated at the hospital. A maximum of 15 percent of these patients may need artificial respiration or ventilator facilities. The intensive care center may require up to 5 percent patients for extreme cases.

It is learnt that 183 ICU ventilators have been allotted to 17 dedicated hospitals for coronation in the country recently. They have been installed in most hospitals. But the Directorate of Health Services has written to the ministry stating the need to develop the necessary infrastructure, ensure the supply of medical supplies, including oxygen and provide ancillary equipment for the ICUs.

Habibur Rahman Khan, Additional Secretary,responsible for coordinating as focal person for corona management at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said, “The devices needed to activate ventilators and ICUs will be purchased quickly,” "I have not seen the letter sent from the DGHS. But if anything is needed, it will be purchased quickly for the treatment. We will ensure everything needed for combating the situation,” he assured.

"We've already doubled the ICU beds.The number of ventilatorshas been increased. Work is underway to further increase the facilities of the hospitals,” he added. In this regard, a member of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) on condition of anonymity said that every ICU bed should not have only one ventilator. In order to ensure the well-being of a patient, all the above instruments are required.

“It is not possible to treat an ICU patient without these machines. Doctors protection is also needed with quality protective gears,” he added.