Dhaka, Bangladesh
ICU support scanty

ICU support scanty

Many, including critical COVID- 19 patients are suffering, while some are dying, due to the lack of ICU support, according to media reports. But when the situation is so grave, a number of ICU beds in hospitals, dedicated to COVID-19 patients, remain unused. This speaks eloquently of the shaky situation our healthcare system is in. It is frustrating to learn that many of the ICU beds in the government hospitals remain unused because of the lack of trained and unskilled manpower, according to reports. There are 106 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals-both government and private-across the country which can treat14, 610 patients with 379 ICU beds and 106 dialysis beds. Apart from the dedicated ones, 17 other government hospitals have ICU beds for COVID- 19 patients. From June 6 to June 25, a small number of them were used daily. Reports give us a grim picture of ICU facilities across the country. The 10 districts of Khulna division have only two ICUs for coronavirus patients, but those too are plagued with faulty equipment and inadequate medical supplies. It is sad that no private facility in the division treats COVID-19 patients. Problems crop up with the ICU also at Satkhira Sadar Hospital as the beds, installed 10 years back, have remained unused for a long time. The Kuwait- Bangladesh Maitree Government Hospital in the capital can operate only 16 out of its 26 ICU beds with the existing manpower. Similar situation exists at other hospitals too. Shortage of trained manpower is one of the reasons why ICU beds remain unused. Without highly trained manpower, only ICU beds cannot do anything. According to reports, another reason for the scarcity of the ICU beds is the unscientific installation of such beds making them inoperative. The government has taken initiatives to increase the number of ICU beds in public hospitals to treat the soaring number of critical COVID-19 patients, but the issue of manpower shortage to operate these facilities has not been properly addressed. The absence of proper planning and coordination among the various government agencies have resulted in such an appalling situation where seriously ill COVID-19 and non-COVID patients are dying regularly being denied ICU support, experts opine. In the circumstances, skilled manpower has to be recruited immediately to make all the ICU beds in the hospitals operational and available to the patients. Besides, training should be given to the medical staff so that they can provide the life-saving care to critical patients. If all the ICU beds can be made operational and available, we think, more lives can be saved.

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