Health Minister Zahid Maleque believes it is not possible to set up too many intensive care units (ICUs) as patients have already overrun the hospitals with the recent surge in coronavirus infection.
To tackle the patient rush, he instructed the health directorate to turn general hospital sections with an oxygen supply into high-dependency units (HDUs). Besides, the minister ordered installing high-flow nasal cannulas at the HDUs, according to the minutes of the 1 April meeting.
At the virtual meeting with the health directorate officials and chief executive officers of Covid dedicated health facilities, the minister said, "We have to stop being too much obsessed with the ICU. It is not possible to set up too many ICUs overnight."
The health minister told the meeting that long-term plans need to be taken as the pandemic could prolong. Medical facilities at all levels need to be readied to deal with the situation.
For covid patients, Zahid Maleque also directed the Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD) to buy remdesivir from local sources.
In reply, CMSD Director Abu Hena Morshed Zaman said they have a stock of 400 remdesivir.
In the long-term Covid-19 fighting plan, the health ministry wants to provide district and upazila level hospitals with high-flow nasal cannula, oxygen concentrator and ventilator.
The health minister Monday held a meeting with top officials of all medical college hospitals, specialised hospitals and district headquarters hospitals of the country in this regard.
The meeting decided to take up immediate measures so that patients from rural areas can avail treatments at upazila health complexes. It also has been decided to provide oxygen concentrators to the upazila health complexes and to re-open all the field hospitals and isolation centres.
CMSD Director Abu Hena Morshed Zaman said they have 361 five-functional and three-functional ICUs, 2,258 oxygen concentrators, 8,040 oxygen cylinders, 166 ventilators and 335 high-flow nasal cannulas.
Besides, CMSD has stocks of 29.66 lakh of personal protective equipment (PPE), 6.14 lakh masks and 400 remdesivir.
He said there were 3.76 lakh of RT-PCR kits in stock until 1 April and the CMSD initiated the procurement of another 1 lakh kits.
However, the health minister advised CMSD to buy more remdesivir from the local sources. CMSD will buy the PCR consumables, PPE and PCR kits through direct purchase.
According to Finance Division officials, the Health Services Division was allocated Tk500 crore in the national budget of the current fiscal year to buy medical equipment.
But the allocation was trimmed to Tk100 crore in the revised budget as the Health Services Division could not spend it.