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Guest Column: Swine Flu Worries Spread to Bangladesh April 30, 2009

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, HEALTH.

Authorities announced this week that all international airports in Bangladesh will begin screening travelers for swine flu, with the nation’s seaports not far behind.
With reports of deaths from the newly noted swine flu increasing to nearly a hundred in the US and Mexico, officials in Bangladesh say they are adding the disease to their list of security-related screenings at all three international airports. H1N1, the official designation by the World Health Organization for swine flu, has been an action item for many world nations over the last week and the new measures were put in place amidst growing concerns of spread of the disease.
“We held the [emergency] meeting following an alert message from World Health Organization about the swine flu that rapidly spreads into [the] human body,” said Professor Mahmudur Rahman, in an interview with the press. Director of Bangladesh’s Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, Rahman also noted that no confirmed cases had been seen within the country’s borders.
Swine flu is a type-A influenza that can be carried and spread by pigs. Human infection classically has been low, except in those who work closely with the animals. This current epidemic has already stricken hundreds.
Worldwide response to the disease has been fast, with some countries acting along with Bangladesh to control any passage of the disease and act quickly to prevent its spread.
Current numbers place the dead at 81, mostly in Mexico, where the most aggressive strain seems to have panicked the government there, which has ordered people in many areas to take serious precautions. Government officials there have recommended that people not shake hands and stand at least six feet away from each other at large gatherings and public events.
The United States did take measures up a notch as well, declaring a state of federal emergency to ensure prompt control and releasing federal stockpiles of vaccinations should state governments wish to up their supply.
Officials in Bangladesh plan to implement the actions in the International Airports on Tuesday and say they will continue screening passengers until the outbreak is controlled.

This post was contributed by Claire Webber, who writes about the best universities online. She welcomes your feedback at Claire.Webber1223 at gmail.com

Risk of Bangladesh to HIV/AIDS December 1, 2008

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, HEALTH.
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I usually walk through a market on my way to my part-time job in the evening. On the way, I see some girls (sex workers) waiting there, not officially permitted, for their clients with their agents overlooking from the shadow.

This simple picture exposes the weakness of our society. Our society is not well regulated. Rules are more in books than in practice.The law enforcers encourage the wrongdoers for their own benefit.

Bangladesh is vulnerable to HIV/AIDS for its poor regulation, poverty, lack of adequate health support, illiteracy, lack of health education, lack of awareness about HIV/AIDS etc.

One of the important causes to me is the presence of large number of migrant workers in the middle east and other countries. Though this temporary immigration increases our remittances, at the same time it increases the risk of HIV/AIDS in our society. Garment workers are also at risk because of their age, ignorance and isolation from the family. Easy travel to & from India & other neighboring countries (where there is high prevalence of AIDS) for leisure, business and health also makes the country vulnerable.

The last official figure of HIV/AIDS infected is 1495, number of AIDS patient is 476 and died of AIDS is 165.The unofficial figure in some multiple of this.

So far Bangladesh is in better statistics than its neighbors because of
cultural attitudes and religious restrictions. But with the inflow of modern trends,the cultural practice is gradually changing in the young and affluents of the society.

Bangladesh will need special steps to aware the public covering the lower economic class, impose laws and regulations irrespective of class, practice its own culture &religion,practice safe sex, meticulous screening of the blood donors & blood products, rehabilitate the drug addicts & sex workers, identify the HIV infected patients and ensure access to necessary treatment for these patients etc.

The ordinary citizen also thinks that HIV status in the visa should be a must for travel in between countries.

An ordinary citizen

HIV is creeping up-check it now December 2, 2007

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, HEALTH.
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[Personal thoughts] The number of HIV cases  in Bangladesh is increasing. The official figure in 1989 was only 1, in 2006 it was 874; in 2007 it is over 1000; the unofficial number that is estimated by the WHO agencies was more than 13000 in 2006.

Bangladesh is in risk for HIV because of lack of knowledge of HIV among the common people, poor perception of risk of HIV among the vulnerable group, gradually increasing in number of the vulnerable group- sex workers, drug addicts, homosexuals, transfusion dependent patients etc, lack of universal screening of HIV of the donors before transfusion, unsafe sexual practice, high prevalence of HIV in our surrounding states and easy migration of people across the border.

As HIV is a dangerous disease and the treatment is costly and beyond the reach of even the middle class people, the maximum effort should be directed to the prevention of the infection.

We are spreading need of awareness among all ages of people but our effort should be more targeted in some areas. All the people should be aware of the infection and special awareness program should be targeted to the vulnerable group and these special groups should be covered 100% within a short time. The perception of risk should be clear to all specially the vulnerable group.

To ensure the safe blood transfusion, the donor blood at each time should be screened for HIV each time. This screening service should be provided free at the level of all laboratories by the government with the help of international donors/agencies.

The workers who are going abroad for jobs they should be screened for HIV at their departure and on their returning back to the country for short or long stay.

HIV screening should not only be made regularly among the sex and other reachable groups such as track drivers but a sort of HIV-free certificates should be made mandatory for the sex workers.

Drug addicts should be identified and rehabilitated and awareness should be developed regarding relation between HIV and drug addiction. Homosexuality and unsafe sex practice should be discouraged and our religious leaders should take more active part in campaign against HIV.

We should be more cautious and halt the spread of HIV before it goes beyond our control and we have to adjust the international prescription according to our culture, religion and reality.

An ordinary citizen


1) HIV/AIDS: Bangladesh at high risk

2) HIV awareness building imperative

3) Slum dwellers also come in aid of Sidr victims

Yaba is destroying our young generation and the culprits should be given capital punishment October 27, 2007

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, HEALTH.
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Few days back few young students of private universities from posh areas of Dhaka had been arrested with Yaba. In connection with this more interrogations were made and more persons were arrested including young women.

Networks of Yaba addictions, smuggling and Yaba businesses were detected.

Hundreds of young boys and girls of affluent background are thought to be addicted; they not only use themselves but sell it to others, they use it in groups and also involve in immoral acts. Posh cars and houses are used for carrying out the business and self-destructive habit. A chain of smuggling developed to carry in the drug from Myammer and also from India into Bangladesh and to distribute it to capital and Chittagong mainly.

Lately a businessmen with a strong family connection with big businesses is also arrested. He was caught red handed with huge amount of Yaba and its production equipments.

It is thought that because of the crackdown on Yaba in Thailand where capital punishment had been imposed on the offenders, Yaba use has been diverted to Bangladesh by the International criminals from late nineties to till now.

Yaba is a combination of Amphetamine and Caffeine. It produces intense hallucination, insomnia, anxiety, confusion, depression, liver and kidney disorders, suicidal tendencies and death. It does not increase the sexual power though it is deliberately implicated withYaba to promote its sale.

Extent of use of Yaba is alarming in Bangladesh. Why we had to take so many years to identify it? It was gross failure on our law enforcing agencies. It is also a failure on the part of our parents whose children are affected and our society in general and remain ignorant of the menace which is destroying our young minds and crippling our society.

Nevertheless, the effort RAB (Rapid Action Battalion), our special force to combat terrorism has given to arrest the culprit is praiseworthy. We hope that the major offenders will be given exemplary punishment.

But few actions from law enforcing agencies will not be enough, it will require a social movement with participation of people from all walks of life including parents, teachers, media, police, judges etc .


An ordinary citizen



Irregularities in Private medical colleges in Bangladesh August 19, 2007


‘Most of the private medical college in the country are in grave condition’ runs the report in Prothom Alo on 15th August 2007, a leading daily.

Starting in late 80’s there are 32 medical colleges and 8 private dental colleges in contrast to 14 Govt medical college and 1 govt dental college in Bangladesh.

Most of the private medical colleges has no adequate teaching facilities, not enough regular teachers, no proper laboratories, no hospital with proportionate patients, not adequate infrastructures and no transparency of accounts etc.

Though the rules dictate that every medical college should have atleast 250 bedded hospital at a proportion of 5 patients for a student. So for 50 students the college should have 250 bedded hospital and for 100 college should have 500 bedded hospital, but very few have got these facilities.

Again, though the private universities are not allowed to run the medical college but to our knowledge there is private medical college running under private university defying government ban and government is not settling it for long through legal procedures.

Many private medical colleges started without proper permission and many given permission on political ground. Many started with underhand negotiations.

The fees taken in the private medical colleges are not regulated and also the account is not transparent. Where many of the colleges are run by Trustee Board, but the money goes to the individual accounts. Many of the initiatives are absolutely business targeted and over all control of the past Governments were weak.

Where the admission in Government medical colleges is highly competitive, the private medical colleges open up the opportunities for the less meritorious students with the support of their parents’ affluence to study medicine in Bangladesh. With more private medical colleges the scale is becoming heavier on their side.

While in developed countries, the medical education is highly regulated and highly standardized, in Bangladesh it is compromised to the extreme.

And corruption played a important part to develop this compromise. This government should also enquire into this compromise and find out and punish the corrupted individuals who are destroying our medical education and our health system for their own personal gain.

An ordinary citizen

Post script:
20 September 2008
Government has barred 3 private medical college from taking admission on the ground that they have no adequate infrastructure and teachig stuff to fulfil the conditions.[…]

Related post in the blog:
Centralised admission test in private medical college – a positive step

Post graduate medical education: producing half specialists! August 15, 2007

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‘Irregularities in  post graduate medical education, producing half specialists’ this  was the alarming headline of a report published in the leading daily ‘Prothom Alo’ on 14th August, 2007.

The report said that in 2002, the past BNP goverment immediately after coming to power started the post graduate courses (MD/MS) in all subjects in Govt medical colleges without adequate preparation. Departmets of Medical colleges without adequate experts were given the permission to conduct the course. It also said that the selection and examination was mot transparent and party affiliates were given the preference in selection in these courses.

This report exposed an inner gross ulcer  of  post graduate education system in our country.

The report needs urgent attention of the Government.

 a) An inquiry committee should be formed to probe the matter and to identify the political and personal motives of the initiators.

b) The inquiry must also find out the irregularities in selection and other examination of the courses.

c) to make the course clean and effective , a central examination system for admission as well as part and final examination like that of MBBS/FCPS (the other post graduate medical system in our country which is more transparent)  should be introduced.

The ordinary citizen is feeling worried thinking of the risk of his own health and of his fellow citizens and their children if they have to be treated  by these half specialists.


BIRDEM Hospital: service collapsed due to doctors’ strike June 29, 2007

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, HEALTH.
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Doctors were on strike in BIRDEM Hospital, one of the prime hospital of the private sector. Though the strike is temporarily withdrawn they are to go on indefinite strike from June 30, 2007 if their demands are not fulfilled by this time.

About 500 medicl officers started the strike and later on the senior doctors including the consultants also joined the striking doctors.

The major demand of the medical officers is to regularize their job permanently.

Before going into the rationality of calling strike and collapsing the hospital,we like to differ with the ways the doctors were trying to press the Authority to fulfill their demands. Hospital service is an essential service.  In no pretext  the continuity of the service should be broken. Hospitalized patients are always critical patients. They are in the hospital as their care and treatment cannot be fully taken at home and by their family members. They need the institutional support. Without that support their life would be in danger. You may categorized some service in the hospital as emergency service but the rest is essential service. You can’t ignore one for the other. If the emergency patient are not attended immediately-  the patients may die immediately. But if the other service is interrupted, the death may be hastened. Hospital service is a continuous service – the  charge of the emergency must be taken over by the indoor doctors otherwise he/she come back to the square one again.

So, in no way , the services in the hospital –either the emergency or the essential,  be inturrupted for any period , long or short . The doctors should adopt other means  to materialize  their demands, not by making their patients hostage. That is also a breach of contact on their part. The patients admitted to the hospital for their support. They cannot deny it after he was admitted on any pretext.

 The Government also should look into the matter and bring the parties on the negotiating table and come to a solution on a logical ground.  

They also ensure that mere pressure by a group could not be the determinant factor for the solution of the problem. If there is any breach of contact on the part of the management, that also should be addressed.



Post Script:

BIRDEM somehow overcomes the crisis.
Over the years, it has developed itself into one of the largest and best hospital in Bangladesh. I am encouraged to add this postscript people are still visiting the post. To know BIRDEM as its present form, please visit its site: http://www.dab-bd.org/project/birdem/birdem.php
BIRDEM is actually a project of Diabetic Association of Bangladesh (DAB), the organisation founded by National Professor Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim that has made significant impact in the field of health service in Bangladesh.