The Ministry of Health has issued guidelines stating that separate arrangements have to be made for the treatment of coronavirus and non-coronavirus patients in all government-run and private hospitals that have 50-beds or more.
The decision was taken after the number of Covid-19 patients increased in the country and both coronavirus and non-coronavirus patients were facing hassles while seeking medical treatment.
The guidelines, signed by Additional Secretary Md Sarijul Islam of the Department of Health, said public health experts in the health department have reviewed the management of Covid-19 medical treatment in different countries and are advising that Covid and non-Covid patients be treated in separate sections of the same hospital. Based on that, directives have been issued for separate arrangements for the treatment of Covid and non-Covid patients in all government and private hospitals with 50 beds or more.
Additional Secretary Habibur Rahman Khan of the health ministry told The Business Standard: "After the outbreak of coronavirus, various incidents of harassment were taking place in the treatment of Covid and non-Covid patients. Hospitals that have been designated by the government as coronavirus hospitals, were asking for a Covid-19 certificate. Without a Covid-19 certificate not even designated coronavirus hospitals were admitting patients"
"Non-Covid patients were also asked to show proof of their being Covid-19 negative. Without corona-negative certification they are not admitting the non-Covid patients."
He said that the decision was taken to overcoming this problem.
Habibur Rahman Khan remarked that the coronavirus is rapidly spreading across the country day by day and that the government-declared coronavirus hospitals alone can't cope with it. It is also another reason for all 50 bed or more hospitals being directed to serve Covid and non-Covid patients.
According to the Ministry of Health, 20,000 beds in 110 hospitals across the country had been set up to treat Covid-19 patients. The Health Service Division could not provide any information on what would be the number of beds for the Covid-19 patients after the guidelines.
According to Habibur Rahman Khan, most of the Upazila health complexes in the country now have 50 beds.
He added that there is more than one 50-bed hospitals in Dhaka and Chattogram counting all the district level government hospitals and government and private medical colleges.
The hospitals will make separate arrangements for Covid-19 patients by themselves. At the same time, they must also serve non-Covid patients.
The reason for choosing a hospital with a capacity of 50-beds or more, he said, is the capability of the hospitals and their infrastructure - treatment of both Covid and non-Covid patients can be ensured there.
Asked if the hospitals are implementing the guidelines of the ministry, he said he would take up the matter with the health department and the administration. Legal action would be taken against those who disobeyed the guidelines.
According to the government, the number of coronavirus patients in the country is 36,751 and the death toll is 522 as of Tuesday afternoon.