The number of novel coronavirus infections and deaths is increasing every day. A big job, now, is to identify those who came into contact with the infected people and to send them to institutional quarantine. Local administration should do the job. Those who have tested Covid-19 positive will have to be taken into isolation and provided with treatment. That is why we need Covid-19 hospitals.
We have to designate Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 hospitals in every district. Suspected cases will go directly to Covid-19 hospitals. Other patients will go to non-Covid hospitals. We have to ensure the supply of ICUs, ventilators and oxygen at the hospitals. At the same time, the doctors, nurses and other health care providers at Covid-19 hospitals must have proper training to provide treatment and services with ventilators and at intensive care units. If they are not trained, they have to be trained fast.
We see the older people are more prone to dying. We have to keep in mind that those who have been admitted to Covid-19 hospitals have comorbidities. So a multidisciplinary management approach is a must for them. They have to be provided with treatment for their other ailments along with Covid-19.
Additionally, eight of the nine people who were on ventilators have died. An enquiry should be conducted into the matter. We have to determine the facts behind this – whether this happened due to lackings in ventilator management or there were faults committed by the service providers. Action should be taken after identifying the reason. People are aware of enough but the government has not encouraged or engaged them.
The government has two jobs to do now. One is to save people from contracting the infection and the other is addressing the issues for which they go outside. People are going outside of their homes because they do not have work and food. The government has to deliver food to the people's doorsteps, and there is no alternative to it. The same thing is being done in other countries too.
People would pay for this service but volunteers of ward councillors – wearing different PPE than that of doctors – should deliver the food and medicines to them. People could pay using bKash or other means. Then people would be reassured. Additionally, local representatives will have to engage the people so that an incident like the one in Brahmanbaria does not reoccur.
Prof Muzaherul Huq is a former adviser of the World Health Organization's Southeast Asia region