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Inter-ministerial panel in the offing to tackle crisis


by tbhdesk

Tk400 crore spent for the treatment this year
Unicef pledges necessary support

As the country grapples with its worst-ever dengue outbreak, the government is looking to form an inter-ministerial committee to help combat the spread of mosquito-borne disease throughout the year.

Disclosing the plan on Sunday, Health and Family Planning Minister Zahid Maleque also suggested taking prevention measures to reduce the death toll from and infection rate of dengue.

The minister was addressing a discussion in Dhaka. Representatives of the Health Services Division, Unicef, WHO, FBCCI, and the Dhaka north and south city corporations were among the stakeholders in attendance.

His comments came as another 11 patients died and 2,327 others were admitted to different hospitals in Bangladesh in the 24 hours till 8am Sunday. The latest figures put the number of deaths and cases to 548 and 114,511 this year, so far.

Chaired by the Health Services Division Secretary Md Anwar Hossain Howlader, speakers recommended one thing in common: a year-long concerted effort to fight the dengue outbreak.

They insisted that patients be admitted to hospitals at the earliest, as the fatality rate is higher when the dengue-positive cases are hospitalized late.

“Even though 35% of the patients are female, the mortality rate among them is higher (almost 65%),” said the health minister, who attributed it to “negligence towards women.”

“Please, bring in each and everybody to nearby hospitals as early as possible, as right now there is no crisis of hospital beds, not even in the ICUs,” he said.

Those testing positive for dengue for a second time are more vulnerable than first-timers, Zahid Maleque warned, advising to be particularly careful about children.

He went on to say that the government has spent Tk400 crore for the treatment of dengue patients this year.

“Tk50,000 have been spent on every dengue patient,” the minister said.

Some 70% of the dengue patients, according to him, have received treatment in the country’s government hospitals.

The health authorities at the discussion emphasized on the destruction of mosquito-breeding grounds, and action against those responsible for the spread of dengue.

The Health and Family Welfare Ministry asked the ICT Division to enhance its awareness campaigns on mainstream and social media against the mosquito menace.

The Unicef representatives pledged necessary support, including delivering $2.25 million worth of urgently needed testing kits, and training of professionals, along with other critical supplies and services to the health and water, sanitation, and hygiene sectors.

Representative of the WHO said that this year there is no chance of getting dengue jabs, as the vaccines need to be tested more before being authorized.

Source: Dhaka Tribune.

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