How residents of Dhanmondi-Mohammadpur are coping with dengue

Jahan Ara Begum (49), an urban housewife of a middle-class family living in city’s Mohammadpur area was suffering from fever for a week and did not care much as she thought it was just a random fever due to the changing season.

As the fever gradually increased, the doubt of having dengue was increasing equally, thus she decided to check.

After giving blood sample at Dhanmondi’s Ibn Sina Diagnostic Centre, the report came out positive – which of course is a negative, not positive at all – as now it has been known to everyone that the positivity in the dengue test report means quite the opposite: the unfortunate patient is affected.

Generally, there are three types of reports required from the blood test to understand whether the patient is dengue affected or not – NS1, IgG + IgM or IgG/IgM and CBC (RBC + WBC + Hematocrit). It bears mentioning that till the government stepped in with strict directives and monitoring, all these tests were pretty expensive in private hospitals.

Now, the maximum fees for NS1 Antigen test is Tk 500 (previously Tk 1200-2000), IgG + IgM or IgG/IgM test Tk 500 (previously Tk 800-1600), and CBC (RBC + WBC + Hematocrit) test Tk 400 (previously Tk 1,000) and hospitals are showing this service rate chart in visible places – just to comfort the patient about the costing.

In Jahan’s case, there was another villain waiting with even bigger havoc. The next day her son took her into Mohammadpur Satmashjid Road’s City Hospital to get evaluated properly, it was diagnosed that along with dengue, she was also having Typhoid as well.

“Dengue was nothing but a viral fever before, but this year, it just exceeded all boundaries. Now, we’re also having dengue patients with other viral diseases such as Typhoid. However, we’re providing them utmost care so that they don’t need to stay hospitalised for long,” Jahan’s doctor at City Hospital Dr Abdullah Al Hasan told this reporter.

Dengue had been the most common word pronounced in recent weeks, because this year it has been smashing all the records from the previous years. The dwellers in Mohammadpur, Shankar, Rayer Bazaar, Lalmatia and Satmasjid Road are fortunate though, as there are a number of diagnostic centres and hospitals in this area, but what about the service?

Al Manar Hospital, City Hospital, Ibn Sina and Bangladesh Medical College Hospital are located in between Mohammadpur and Shankar. From the outbreak of the ongoing dengue catastrophic, these hospitals are constantly having a huge number of patients every day – and even more people are visiting for blood testing.

According to these hospitals, most of the patients are coming from the greater Mohammadpur area – and they claimed that the patients do not belong to any specific class. Rather their services are equally required by and provided to everyone. In reality, however, the maximum representation was of the middle classes.

Among these hospitals, Ibn Sina Diagnostic Center (located at Dhanmondi 9/A) seemed extremely crowded in comparison to other hospitals and diagnostic centres, with people who came for the blood test. Despite having these huge number of people cued for the test, there is no shortage of necessary medical equipment and testing kits, the authorities of Ibn Sina informed UNB.

City Hospital is also having no shortage of testing kits and they are also trying to provide quality treatment to dengue patients, according to their customer care department.

There is a 24/7 dedicated information booth at the hospital. While dealing with a daily average of 50-60 dengue patients admitted to the hospital while the total number of seats is approximately 80, the hospital is experiencing a 24/7 rush hour but smoothly managing the patients, claimed the customer care department.

However, all these mentioned hospitals are in fear that the number of patients will increase more within a few days, stretching their capacity beyond limits. As of now, they are prepared to serve the crowd with adequate and appropriate services- according to the respective authorities of these hospitals.

The panicked dwellers of Mohammadpur-Lalmatia-Shankar are still waiting for the catastrophic situation to be turned around and those who are already infected are eagerly waiting to get cured while the rest of the people are living in fear. The hospitals, no matter how generously they are trying to manage the situation- would not be able to be the guardian angels if the situation keeps getting worse every day.