Health Minister Zahid Maleque has inaugurated DNCC COVID Hospital, the largest hospital dedicated to the treatment of coronavirus patients.
The 1,000-bed hospital inaugurated on Sunday also has an intensive care unit with 212 beds, a 250-bed HDU and a COVID emergency unit with 50 beds, reports bdnews24.com.
In 2020, when the pandemic began to spread, there was a growing need of space for treatment and isolation of COVID-19 patients, said Zahid Maleque during the inauguration.
When the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic hit Bangladesh, it brought a huge spike in the number of patients, with more testing positive in the last 20 days, than in the last ten months, he said.
At least 160,000 people tested positive in the past one and a half months, while 15,000 had tested positive in the one and a half months before that.
The number of patients increased ten times and the death toll escalated too. There has been a huge discussion on the lack of ICU facilities in the country, the minister said.
“The government hospitals in Dhaka have around 250 ICU beds, and a little over 500 ICU beds are available across the country. Conventional ICUs have ventilators, which are not needed much for treating coronavirus patients. They need oxygen, high flow nasal canula, oxygen concentrator and oxygen. It is also necessary to monitor the patients and provide the medication,” he said.
Maleque hoped the new hospital will enhance the treatment quality for COVID patients. It has ICU beds almost equal to the total number of ICU beds for COVID patients in other government hospitals in Dhaka.
The hospital has been set up by the Dhaka North City Corporation and the Directorate General of Health Services. The Bangladesh Army will operate the hospital.
The DNCC provides the land and utility services for the hospital, while the DGHS is providing machinery, the workforce, medicine and other technical support.
It will provide treatment to the COVID patients during the pandemic and will turn into a general hospital afterwards when the pandemic ebbs.
The hospital kicked off its service on Sunday with 50 ICU beds, 50 COVID emergency beds and 150 COVID isolation rooms, said Brig Gen AKM Nasiruddin, director of the hospital.
The dedicated COVID hospital building, which was previously a 180,560 square feet market, was originally set to be replaced with the construction of the Karwan Bazar wholesale market. It was left vacant as wholesalers did not move there.
It was made into an isolation centre run by the army in 2020 during the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bangladesh reported its first coronavirus cases on Mar 8 last year. On Sunday, Bangladesh confirmed 102 new virus deaths, setting another record in the daily count. The grim data came on top of 101 fatalities from the COVID-19 illness in the 24-hour count in the previous two days. The overall death toll rose to 10,385. Cases surged by 3,698 in the 24 hours to 8 am Sunday to 718,950.
With the spike in virus cases since March, most Dhaka hospitals are overwhelmed with patients. According to the DGHS, there is a particular scarcity of ICU beds.