The novel coronavirus or Covid-19 has spread widely in Bangladesh like in almost every other country in the world. So far, it has claimed more than 200 lives in Bangladesh.
Although many people get infected by the virus, only a few show symptoms. Among them are many doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers - who are working fearlessly, risking their lives and working tirelessly to protect us from this disease. They are our brave fighters and we are becoming more indebted to them with every passing day.
I am a doctor and mother of two medical practitioners. My two daughters and son-in-law are currently living in England and working in the country's health sector. Almost every day, they are treating coronavirus patients.
As a mother, the thought of their safety never leaves my mind. Sitting here, thousands of miles away from them, the fear strikes at my core and leaves me choking. Sometimes, I quietly shed a tear or two.
But, when I speak to them, I feel elated. They tell me, "Mom, this is our duty. If I stand back, where will the masses go for treatment?"
They tell me about the scarcity of safety equipment. Yet, they also talk about how they are working with the limited resources and also trying to keep themselves safe to the best of their abilities. These stories from them are overwhelming. Even if for a few moments, I feel that as a mother, this is a very big achievement for me.
Currently healthcare professionals in Bangladesh are facing a more difficult test than others. We have more limitations in a country with such a huge population. But still, the government is trying its best.
The honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is supervising the crisis management at all times. Meanwhile, the administration, law enforcement agencies and general people are all doing everything they can to serve humanity in the crisis.
This catastrophe is of a totally different nature. The invisible microscopic virus spreads very quickly through humans. The only way to avoid this is to follow the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO)). That includes being self-motivated and maintaining physical distance and not going outside unless it is an absolute necessity.
If we act responsibly, the administration and law enforcement will not have to stay outside risking their lives. Above all, the risk to the lives of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers will be reduced to a greater extent as well.
It is important to keep in mind that even if the virus infects a human body, it might not be life-threatening instantly. Most of the patients will recover from Covid-19 with little care. Only 5-7% of people may require specialised medical attention.
I firmly believe that this pandemic will not last very long. The darkness will fade and the light of dawn will shine soon. The people of Bangladesh have indomitable strength to fight disasters. We have seen the result of our combined strength during the Liberation War of 1971.
We see such victories every now and then during floods, droughts and cyclones. Right now we need to be patient and stay at home for a few more days. In this holy month of Ramadan, can we not treat 'stay at home' as an act of practicing restraint?
Let us become responsible and make life easier for our doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers. Their family members and loved ones are also worried and passing a tough time in their homes.
They are also human beings and as much at risk of contracting the virus as us. The coronavirus does not discriminate, it can infect anyone, anytime. Despite such grave risks, I am really proud to see the "never-give- up" attitude of our doctors and I congratulate them for it.
I do not have words to give courage or consolation to all the dedicated doctors, nurses and healthcare workers, who are constantly fighting in the frontline regardless of the fear of contracting the virus and the risk of death, in this crisis. Undoubtedly, you are our real heroes.
The commitment, courage, skill, compassion and hard work you have shown during this epidemic is appreciated by all.
I thank you all on my behalf and on behalf of every person in the country for the sacrifice you are making. We always pray to the almighty for your well-being. Our lives are indebted to you and we are eternally grateful to all of you.
The author is a physician, a Bangladesh Awami League politician and the incumbent Member of Parliament of Kishoreganj-1. She is also a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare.