COVID-19 protective gear is a global concern

প্রকাশিত: ১১:৩৫ পূর্বাহ্ণ, মার্চ ২৫, ২০২০

COVID-19 protective gear is a global concern

Dr. Mamun Al Mahtab (Shwapnil)

The killer coronavirus is not sparing anyone – youths, celebrities, and even doctors, who have emerged as the saviours fighting the war against the pandemic on the frontline. But they are fighting it without armour. The amount of Personal Protective Equipment or PPE they are getting is not enough to execute their duty safely when the coronavirus pandemic is devastating the planet after breaking out from the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Take the case of Australia where there is a concern about the dwindling stock of PPE. In the US, doctors are living in the apprehension of the shortage of protective gear and supplies. The scanty provision of masks is forcing some physicians to reuse a mask with alcohol sprayed on it. As people, in general, went on a spree of stocking masks out of the panic about the virus, the demand for masks among doctors remained unmet. The same concern about the inadequate supply of protective gear for medical professionals has also been raised in Bulgaria where the coronavirus prompted a countrywide state of emergency.

The global death toll from the coronavirus crossed 18,000 with nearly 7,000 in Italy only. The deceased include at least 24 doctors who refused to call it a day despite the risk of death. In the Philippines, three doctors succumbed to coronavirus infection as they decided to serve mankind despite having inadequate protective gear. In China, many young doctors aged between 20 and 30 risking their lives to treat COVID-19 patients passed away.

Thousands of medical professionals have tested positive for coronavirus or quarantined across the world. Their infection is culminating in a whole range of issues. First, their lives are at stake. Their families are at risk. Secondly, if the doctors are infected, who will treat the others? Their chances of serving mankind are in jeopardy. Thirdly, other patients coming to hospital are exposed to the risk of infection if the doctors themselves get infected.

The pandemic has also moved its tentacles into Bangladesh infecting 39 people with four fatalities. A young physician is among those hospitalised with coronavirus infection. The doctor contracted the virus while attending a patient. In addition, four doctors of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital have gone into quarantine as suspected patients. Medical professionals are expressing concerns that the lack of protective gear such as masks, gloves and gowns may take a toll on their lives.

Having been one of the world’s most densely populated country, Bangladesh’s possibilities of suffering a larger outbreak is immensely high. While all eyes are supposed to be on China for the supply of PPE or the raw materials, the country itself is struggling to use its stock for its own people since the virus started to spread from there.

However, Bangladesh has taken a number of steps to get 1 million PPEs for the doctors. Two thousand have already made their way to the country. Individuals and organisations are complementing government efforts with humanitarian initiatives. The readymade garments sector has also come forward to manufacture PPEs. British retailer Marks & Spencer will manufacture 400,000 PPEs in the next two weeks.

Facebook-based linkage platform of donors and recipients “Pay it Forward, Bangladesh [Let us spread Kindness]” will be ensuring coordination while the Central Medical Stores Depot will distribute the safety clothing.

Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba has promised to send 300,000 masks to Bangladesh. The news gave some solace to the people when medical personnel both at public and private healthcare facilities were referring patients with COVID-19 symptoms to government-designated hospitals.

But to fill the gap between the demand for protective gears and their supply to the doctors, along with other preventive measures for all, all hands must be on deck now.

Dr. Mamun Al Mahtab : Chairman of Hepatology, BSMMU, Advisor of

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