In February, China astounded the world by building an emergency 1,000-bed hospital within 10 days to treat coronavirus patients in Wuhan. Similarly, a 60-bed hospital has been set up within 20 days in Chattogram.
Apart from the capacity of the hospitals and the duration taken to build them, there is another difference; while the hospital in Wuhan was built by the Chinese government, the "Chattogram Field Hospital" was set up with by volunteers with contributions from 1 lakh people – each donating Tk100 only.
Public health expert and initiator of the hospital project Dr Bidduth Barua said everything came from donations.
"We sought crowdfunding through different platforms, including social media, and we got a huge response."
When he looked for doctors, nurses and volunteers to serve Covid-19 patients, many people responded within a short time.
"Twelve doctors were selected from the huge number of applicants," said Dr Barua.
Around 100 young volunteers, who were given training, have also joined them to serve the coronavirus patients.
Furthermore, volunteers at the Chattogram Field Hospital have agreed to work without any payment.
"People are extending their helping hand to combat the coronavirus crisis in their own ways," Sajid Kabir, a student who joined the hospital voluntarily on April 16, told The Business Standard.
"Those who have money are giving relief materials. As I do not earn yet, I have chosen to serve the patients," he added.
Construction of the hospital in began on April 1 in Faujdarhat, and it started admitting patients for free on April 21. According to the roster, three to four doctors will always be on duty.
The hospital, with a five-ventilator and 10-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU), is rendering its services for 24 hours for Covid-19 patients.
Dr Barua said building the hospital would have been very difficult without help from Navana Group, which has allotted one of its buildings for the field hospital. It has also donated five ventilators.
Dr Sheikh Fazley Rabbi, civil surgeon of Chattogram said the number of novel coronavirus patients is increasing every day and many hospitals are not providing services to patients with coronavirus symptoms.
"They are being forced to get admitted to the isolation units," he said, adding, "As a result, the pressure of patients was increasing. Our pressure has reduced with the opening of the new hospital. Now there is no need to worry about patients with coronavirus symptoms.
Praising the initiative, the civil surgeon said they would help the new hospital if needed.
Arafatur Rahman, general manager of Navana Group, said, "We are happy to participate in such initiatives to serve the patients during a crisis. We asked the initiators of the project to ask for any assistance they need."
Representatives from the civil society said patients with symptoms of the coronavirus like cold and cough are being neglected in various hospitals, making this hospital a welcome initiative.
Moreover, when the initiative was first launched, there were no hospitals in Chattogram with ventilators and an ICU for the coronavirus patients, they added.