The Covid-19 situation that we are facing right now is deteriorating. Tackling this situation should be the government's highest priority.
Now, the word 'tackle' can be divided into two parts: prevention and treatment. At first, we could vaccinate our rural people for prevention, and if we did so, we would not have to go through this.
Did we not have a plan to vaccinate people over 55 years old? Then, why could we not do that? Behind this failure, there are few barriers.
Firstly, registering through an app or website was not a viable idea for our rural people. Everyone in the rural area is not comfortable with registration and then printing out the copy. People who are usually involved in the vaccination process for forty years, were excluded in this vaccination process. So, due to the lack of experience, the vaccination centres were set in distant places, which was not convenient for rural people at all.
As a result, the coverage area shrank. Also, the promotion of this campaign was relatively weaker than the usual ones. That is why our planning for this vaccination campaign did not act according to our expectations.
Secondly, we do not have enough RT-PCR, and it is absolutely Dhaka-centric. On top of that, suddenly, a fee was imposed on Covid testing, which was not an encouraging decision either.
We disagreed with this because we could assume that it would create discrimination between the rich and poor and disrupt the tracing process. And, we were right. However, it has been changed a few days ago, but the damage has been done already.
Now, we can resume this prevention stage with a new plan. But it will not bring any change to the current situation. In the resumed plan, we have to include the people who have been vaccinating the rural people for years. Because only they know how to communicate with them and this is the most crucial part of the vaccination campaign.
Also, this registration process needs to stop right away. For years, we have been giving vaccines to our children and women. Did we need this registration process? No, then why do we need this now?
Also, still, we have a shortage of medical oxygen supply. We could not cover all the districts with oxygen plants. So, whenever severe patients come, we cannot take care. Instead, we send them to the divisional hospitals. As a result, it is putting all the neighbouring districts at risk too. In this way, very slowly, transmission is occurring all over the country.
Now, to tackle this current situation, we need to plan strategically, and upazila-wise. Our district-level doctors can train upazila health workers to tackle the primary situation. Only the serious patients will be sent to the district hospital. In this way, transmission rate will be kept under control and our central hospital will face less pressure. To execute this plan, we need more money and human resources.
Not all the upazilas or districts face the same level of crisis, so the more we narrow down, the easier it will be to deal with. From corona tests to transport and medicine, everything should be provided at the lowest price to the rural people. If we fail to support them with the necessary things, we will see a spike in catastrophic health expenditure this time.
However, what we could or should do cannot change this deteriorating situation. On average, the number of people who reported corona positive during the last 14 days will double in the next 14 days.
And, there are asymptomatic patients too. Moreover, we have two more super spreading events ahead of us – cattle haat and Eid ul Adha. Through these spreading events, people will transmit corona to cities.
This year, corona is going to be transmitted in a reversed way. We will see an explosion after 14 days of celebrating Eid ul Adha. The number will be huge. In no time, we will see people crying for oxygen, bed and ICU. I will not be surprised if people are found dead on the roads. We are heading towards a difficult situation.
But can we not avoid this situation at all? Yes, we can if we run a dedicated team who will drag this transmission rate below 5% by ensuring isolation, primary treatment and tracing suspected corona patients. We have capable health workers. All we need is proper direction, money and more human resources.