The UNHCR, the refugee agency of United Nations, in partnership with Bangladesh government inaugurated the expansion of medical services for Covid-19 patients at the Sadar Hospital in Cox's Bazar district on Monday.
Shaimum Sarwar Kamal, president of the hospital management committee and a member of parliament, Dr Rafik-Us-Saleheen, superintendent and assistant director of Sadar Hospital, and Hinako Toki, senior operations coordinator at UNHCR, attended the event, said a media statement.
Besides, the principal of Cox's Bazar Medical College, and a representative of the Superintendent of the Police of the district were also present on the occasion.
In June last, the first Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and High Dependency Unit (HDU) were opened in the district's hospital with the support of UNHCR.
The ICU currently has a capacity of 10 beds with 11 ventilators and 2 portable ventilators, and 8 HDU beds available for those having severe Covid-19 symptoms. This expansion will significantly expand the capacity to respond with 20 additional beds for patients with severe symptoms, the media statement read.
Besides the 20 extra beds, the UNHCR also provided supports for the refurbishment of a newly launched ward.
Furthermore, medication and specialised equipment have also been provided including beds, walled oxygen, oxygen pumps, infusion and syringe pumps and specialised medical personal protective equipment (PPE).
"We will always remember the support provided by UNHCR and other UN organisations for both refugees and our people. Nobody can make progress without support," said Shaimum Sarwar Kamal while addressing the event.
"At the very beginning of the pandemic, when people were panicking and looking for solutions, the UNHCR played a pioneering role to support us, said Dr Rafik-Us-Saleheen, superintendent and assistant director of Sadar Hospital.
Since the ICU and HDU were opened on 20 June this year, some 124 patients in need of critical care support have been admitted and received care in the Sadar Hospital ICU. This includes both refugees referred from the Rohingya camps as well as local Bangladeshi people.
The UNHCR and the entire humanitarian community are continuing to work hand-in-hand with the government to both prevent and respond to cases of Covid-19 in Cox's Bazar district.
So far, 14 Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Isolation and Treatment Centres (SARI ITCs) have also been established for the treatment of those with moderate to severe Covid-19 symptoms.
"The coronavirus pandemic has presented a huge challenge globally. The UNHCR is grateful for the strong partnership with the government of Bangladesh in combatting the virus," said Hinako Toki, senior operations coordinator for UNHCR in Cox's Bazar.
"We will continue to work together to ensure the best care possible for those who suffer from the Covid-19 in Cox's Bazar district."