Hospitals should provide treatment to all patients, regardless of Covid or non-Covid cases, to ensure people's basic right to primary health care, observed a noted physician.
Health facilities should consider all the incoming patients positive for Covid-19 so that non-Covid cases get access to treatment, said Prof Dr Zaheer Al-Amin, managing director of Impulse Hospital.
"The country's existing 10-million patients with different types of health complications, critical to vulnerable, are deprived of health care because of the Covid outbreak," he said.
The ENT specialist also said if doctors and nurses are properly trained and provided with quality personal protective equipment, there is slim chance for them to get infected with coronavirus.
In many hospitals, especially at private ones, patients are asked to show Covid test reports before rendering any service, thus inflicting sufferings both for Covid-and non-Covid patients.
"Patients should be allowed to a hospital first. If needed, people with Covid symptoms should be tested and then admitted considering their condition," Dr Al-Amin told the FE in an exclusive interview recently.
Apart from Covid-19, many people with pre-existing health conditions are dying as they are not getting proper treatment, he said.
"These big numbers of people need access to health care whether they have Covid symptoms or not."
Dr Al-Amin said the 350-bed Impulse Hospital has been providing treatment to coronavirus-infected police officials under an agreement signed on May 09.
The hospital, located in Dhaka's Tejgaon Industrial Area, has so far treated 1,151 confirmed Covid cases and 90 suspects, mostly police officials.
Some 850 people have already gone home after recovering from the respiratory viral disease.
As the deal with the police department expired on July 09, the hospital will turn into a totally private Covid hospital for the general public.
"We'll be able to treat more than 400 Covid patients a day, of which at least 250 may get admission facility," the Impulse managing director said.
The hospital has 36 intensive care unit beds and 26 high dependency unit ones dedicated to Covid patients.
The private health facility has also 30 ventilators and 26 high flow nasal cannulas to provide oxygen support to its patients from central oxygen supply system.
There are currently 150 doctors along with 140 nursing staff members to offer quality treatment to patients.
Junior doctors and health workers are struggling hard on the frontline, who take timely and valuable advice from senior consultants staying at secure place.
"If not needed for emergency cases," Dr Al-Amin, "we are not engaging senior doctors who are vulnerable to the contagion."
Apart from caring Covid-19 cases, Impulse also resumed regular treatment for non-Covid patients in the areas of general medicine, gynecology and obstetrics, nephrology, kidney dialysis, chemotherapy, cardiology and general surgery.
It is capable of testing 180 samples of corona patients every four hours at its own lab.
Dr Al-Amin said at least 40 per cent of RT-PCR tests give false negative even on the samples of patients with clear and mild Covid symptoms.
As a result, many of them move freely infecting others who might have no idea how they got infected, he cited.
"We need to consider Covid-19 like any other disease, it can inhibit anyone in different ways," he said.
Taking in healthy food, vitamins, prescribed drugs at home for mild symptoms can reduce Covid risk, Dr Al-Amin suggested.
But extra cautionary measures are needed for the elderly at home if they show Covid symptoms and have pre-existent health concerns.
"Admitting them to any designated Covid hospital within the first six to eight days of getting infected can reduce risks for vulnerable patients significantly," he advised.