Quick Take: Corona crisis in Bangladesh

Till June 14, 2020, approximately 85,000 tested positive and 18,000 recovered in Bangladesh with Covid 19. Out of 67,000 active cases majority of them are treated at home and approximately one-third of the positive cases are from Dhaka city. With a population of 165 million and having more than 10 million persons above 60 years, the number of deaths are considerably low. After 100 days of the first detection, we are testing around 15,000 cases per day and reporting approximately 20 percent as positive.

Most of the people who are tested have some symptoms, but we do not know the proportion among the persons who are not showing any symptoms. The proportion of persons tested positive needs some more understanding. As number of people recovering from Covid 19 increases, they will have measurable impact on the proportion of cases tested positive. For example, if 15 percent of the total tests are second test it will lower the proportion as most of them will be tested negative.

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Therefore, we should calculate the proportion with first time tested as the denominator to show the actual trend. In addition, timely reporting of recovered persons will assist in future planning. Timely and accurate calculation of Rate of Infection (RO) will also help us in determining future action plan.

It is observed that 60 percent of the positive cases are in group 20-40 years and another 18 percent are in age group 40-60. Less than 10 percent are over 60 years and the number of deaths is higher among the older persons. MoHFW reported more than 1000 deaths due to Corona virus but electronic and print media are also reporting daily basis number of deaths due to Corona like symptoms.

Corona Crisis

Dr. Ubaid, the writer of the article

These numbers vary but not more than 1000. Therefore, total number of deaths due to Corona like symptoms are still at the lower side. Stark gender and employment disparities are also observed. Particularly, law enforcement persons and frontline health workforce are at heightened risk for contracting the virus. We must take into consideration these factors and take measures to address them as early as possible.

With the unprecedented scale and spread of Covid 19, many of us have questions about what we can do right now and in the coming days to improve the health service delivery in Bangladesh. In most of the cases, government is trying their best to provide basic health care services with minimum or no support from civil societies and NGOs. These realities must be kept in mind as we develop action plans and policies. While we work toward closing the health care gap, it is important to discuss what we can do with the existing health service delivery system during this pandemic and beyond.

The writer of this article, Dr. Ubaidur Rob is the Country Director of Population Council in Bangladesh.


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