The deteriorating pandemic situation in the country has created a risk of disruption of all kinds of health services as the coronavirus infection rate among the health workers is on the rise again during the recent days.
The increasing number of infected health workers may disrupt the treatment of both Covid and non-Covid patients, corona test, and vaccination activities, apprehended senior doctors.
The fact that 38 physicians tested positive for Covid in the virology lab of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) in a single day on Monday shows how alarmingly the number of infected health workers is increasing day by day.
The scenario is almost the same at other hospitals also where doctors, nurses and other health workers are contracting the virus while providing services.
So far, since the beginning of the pandemic, 9,494 health professionals have been infected in the country. Most of their family members have also tested positive for the virus, according to Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA).
During the ongoing third wave of the pandemic, most of the doctors are being infected for the second time, despite getting two doses of corona vaccines.
Several doctors from different city hospitals said as the number of Covid patients increases, so does the infection rate among health professionals. Every day more than one doctor is being infected in different departments. Whenever any health worker is tested after showing symptoms, he is becoming positive for the virus. Not only are the health workers, their family members also being infected. If this continues for some more days, there will be a shortage of physicians and nurses to provide treatment to both Covid and non-Covid patients. Service management can be at risk if too many doctors, nurses, health workers are affected at the same time.
Dr Nusrat Sultana, associate professor at the Department of Virology at DMCH, told The Business Standard, "Covid patients are increasing across the country. Many health workers are being infected due to the exposure to positive patients, use of public transport, and lack of isolation facilities at home. Once infected, the health workers remain in isolation for 10 days. If the number of infected health workers continues to increase at this rate, the health services will be disrupted for all kinds of patients suffering from various critical diseases besides Covid."
She advised everyone not to take the new coronavirus variant Omicron lightly and to follow the hygiene rules properly.
Co-ordinator of Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery Vaccine Centre and seven nurses are in isolation after being infected, raising concern over the continuation of the activities of the vaccine centre.
Seven doctors, medical technologists and other staff of Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital's Covid Lab are in isolation after being infected.
DMCH Director Brigadier General Md Nazmul Haque told TBS, "Many of our hospital staff are positive. As a result, the workload on other staff is increasing a lot."
According to the BMA, 9,494 health workers have been infected with the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic. Of them, 3,136 are doctors, 2,304 nurses and 4,054 other health workers.
The death toll from coronavirus among health workers during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 was comparatively higher.
However, the number of infections and deaths among health workers reduced during the second wave as most of them were vaccinated.
But the Covid positivity rate of health workers is increasing again during the ongoing third wave as the Omicron variant infects the vaccinated persons also.