The Financial Express

40pc beds still vacant for COVID-19 patients, health minister says

Published: June 30, 2020 21:00:10 | Updated: July 01, 2020 09:34:11

40pc beds still vacant for COVID-19 patients, health minister says

Mentioning that some 14,000 beds have been designated for coronavirus-infected patients in the country’s hospitals, Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Tuesday said 40 per cent of those are still vacant.

“It’s not like that patients are not getting treatment in any hospital of Bangladesh. As of today, we’ve 60 per cent beds occupied while 40 per cent are still vacant. We’ve some 14,000 beds for corona patients,” he said.

The minister was responding to allegations brought by opposition MPs in the parliament on Tuesday while discussing their cut-motions regarding Tk 228.83 billion demand in grant for the Health Services Division.

The Health Minister said high-flow oxygen lines are essential for Covid-19 patients. So, the government has taken an initiative for arranging 1,000 high-flow oxygen systems and 10,000 new oxygen cylinders.

About the allegations of irregularities in hotels  and food costs of doctors and health workers of Dhaka Medical College Hospital, the minister said the allegations were not correct as some 3,700 people stayed there in 50 hotels for a month, and Tk 500 was given as food cost for three meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner. "The rent for each room was Tk 1,100 per day."

Noting that the costs were not so high, he said, “The food cost that was said to be (in allegation) is not correct."

Zahid Maleque said now there is no allegation about the standard of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The government has already sent 3.0 million PPEs to different hospitals, he said.

He said now every private hospital is providing medical treatment though their service charges are high to some extent. "The government will fix the service charges."   

The minister said there was an outcry for ventilators initially, but now it seems there is no need for that. “We’ve some 400 ventilators. But, 50 of those are not used. Most of the patients put under ventilator support died."

He said the COVID-19 death rate among the infected people is low due to the measures taken by the government.

The government has recruited some 2,000 doctors and 6,000 nurses within a quick time to deliver medical services to corona patients, increased the number of hotlines to 50 from five, introduced telemedicine services, prepared patient guidelines, a modern protocol for doctors and other health workers, he said.

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