Members of the police force working in the capital city are more vulnerable to the deadly mosquito-borne dengue than the residents.
Around 1 lakh police officials are currently working in Dhaka city, and more than 1,200 of them have received dengue treatment in hospital.
This means around 1 percent of the police force in the capital is infected with the disease.
On the other hand, more than 19,081 people among Dhaka’s 17 million residents have been diagnosed with dengue since January, which is around 0.12 percent of the city’s total inhabitants.
Hospital sources say that the number of infected police personnel is higher than those in all other departments of the government.
“The number of infected personnel among the police is very alarming. We must take the matter more seriously. The standard of police healthcare should be improved,” said an assistant superintendent of police seeking anonymity.
Pandemic keeps spreading
A total of 393 police personnel are presently undergoing treatment at the CPH.
“We have recorded at least 80-100 admissions each day in the past few weeks, which itself is a record number in this hospital,” said Niyoti Roy, assistant commissioner (force), Rajarbagh Police Line.
A copy of the patient list released by the hospital revealed that most dengue infected police personnel are from the lower ranks. However, some high ranking law enforcers are also infected by the disease.
Rumana Akter and Mahmud Hossain – both sub-inspectors of the Special Branch -- were infected with dengue recently. They were initially admitted to the CPH on July 30, but were later shifted to a private hospital when their condition deteriorated.
Fortunately, both the law enforcers are improving after undergoing treatment in the Intensive Care Unit.
“There was no chance of an Aedes mosquito breeding ground near my home. I probably got infected by dengue while patrolling the capital while on duty,” Rumana told the Business Standard on Sunday.
Redwan Ahmed, a constable of Special Protection and Security Battalion (SPBN) had 103 Celsius fever since July 25. He got himself admitted at the CPH after five days, but did not get a bed there due to the huge volume of patients.
“I was deployed in front of the Gonobhaban (residence of the prime minister) and lived at the SPBN dormitory in the Mohammadpur Beri Badh area. The living condition in the dorm is not very good, and I might have contracted dengue there,” Redwan said.
Echoing the same opinion, CPH’s Dr Emdadul Haque said: “Police personnel are at high risk of dengue infection because of the nature of their profession. We are making a serious effort to provide proper healthcare, and most of the patients are returning home safe and sound.”
Some patients however disagree with the statement.
According to sources, the CPH has only primary treatment facilities, and patients are shifting to other hospitals as soon as their condition worsens.
As of Sunday, two members of the police family have already died of dengue fever. Bangladesh Police Additional Inspector General (admin) Shahabuddin Quraeshi’s wife Syeda Akter, 54, is one of the victims of the disease.
She was admitted to the CPH on July 30 and was shifted to Square Hospital on August 3 after her condition deteriorated. She breathed her last at the hospital on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Assistant Sub-Inspector of the Special Branch Kohinoor Akhter also passed away on July 31 after she contracted dengue.