Dhaka, Aug 7 (UNB) – A physician couple is passing through an awful time as they have got their two sons infected with dengue which has been playing havoc across the country for the last few weeks.
“This is a very difficult time for us,” Rukhsana Pervin, a consultant at Shyamoli TB (Tuberculosis) Hospital, told the UNB correspondent.
The UNB correspondent came across the couple at Dhaka Shishu Hospital as their two sons –11-year-old Ayan and three-year-old Alvin -- have been undergoing treatment at the hospital in the city’s Agargaon area since Sunday last.
Ayan, a fifth-grader of an English version school at Rupnagar in the city’s Mirpur area, got infected with dengue for the second time as he got first infected by the disease four years ago.
Ayan, a fifth-grader of an English version school at Rupnagar in the city’s Mirpur area, at Dhaka Shishu Hospital
“We’re more worried about Ayan as he’s a second-time dengue patient,” Rukhsana said with her eyes full of tears.
The problem has been worse for the couple as both of them are government job holders – one working at Shyamoli TB (Tuberculosis) Hospital while her husband Sayeed Talukder is a lecturer at Centre for Medical Education in the capital.
They have been struggling to manage attendants for their children at the hospital their sons undergoing treatment -- Dhaka Shishu Hospital.
The couple lives at Pallabi in the city’s Mirpur area.
Rukhsana said Ayan was admitted to the hospital on Sunday after he was found NS1 positive on Saturday.
They had to wait for three-four hours to have a bed allocated for Ayan at the hospital as there was no vacant bed there at that time due to the huge pressure of dengue patients.
After Ayan’s admission, the couple found that their three-year-old boy Alvin was also suffering from fever. Then they went for NS1 antigen test for Alvin and found him infected with dengue in the test report. Alvin was also admitted to the hospital later in the day, said Rukhsana.
Rukhsana said Ayan might have infected with dengue either at home or school. Another two children at their nearby flats were infected with dengue a few days ago, and a building is under-construction on an adjacent plot. So, there is a high risk of being infected with dengue at their home, she added.
Rukhsana said she and her husband were on a two-day leave to take care of their sons at the hospital.
On completion of their leave, Sayeed’s sister attended the two at the hospital taking a one-day leave from her office – Brac Bank.
Her husband Sayeed said they are worried about Ayan as the second time infection is always dangerous for dengue patients.
During the first time infection, Ayan got recovered just receiving treatment at hom, he said.
“Now we’re suffering from mental and physical stresses as both sons are infected with dengue. Being physicians, we’re panicked as we know its consequences,” he said.
Sayeed said there are two brothers and one sister in their joint family. Of them, three other members of his family – father, younger brother and his spouse-- are also physicians.
The authorities of Dhaka Shishu Hospital said on average 180-200 children undergo NS1 antigen test a day at their hospital, but only 10-12 children are detected with dengue infection.
“We’re facing difficulties to deal with the heavy inflow of children who undergo dengue test. Huge kits are needed for it,” said hospital’s public relations officer Md Abdul Hakim.
He said people are thronging hospitals as they have got panicked over the serious dengue outbreak.
Dhaka, Aug 7 (UNB) – Locally-raised cattle are reigning in the city’s makeshift cattle markets as huge numbers of sacrificial animals have already gathered from various districts across the country.
There are huge numbers of locally-reared cattle in the country to meet the massive demand for sacrificial animals during the Eid-ul-Azha this year..
Visiting different cattle markets, this correspondent found that people from various districts have already reached the city with their sacrificial animals, and most of them are locally reared.
The open space of ShanirAkhra-Daniya playground which is now an important cattle market in the city is full of sacrificial animals. Some cattle are found beside the road due to lack of space in the main site of the haat ( market) violating the lease terms.
UNB correspondent talked to many of them who came here from various districts to sell their sacrificial animals.
Shahabuddin is one of the cattle farmers who reached the city from Tetulia upazila of Panchagarh district to sell his sacrificial animals.
After travelling long, he brought 12 sacrificial animals. He said his cattle were medium in size and the expected price would range from TK 80,000 to TK 1,20,000.
Mosharraf Hossain, leaseholder of the haat, said, "Presence of buyers and sellers would increase further in three-four days before Eid.”
The Department of Livestock Services (DLS) said that 5,77,416 commercial farms and farmers have around 1,17,88,563 sacrificial animals ready to meet the demand for 1,10,00,000.
Few cattle from India, Myanmar and Nepal were available in the cattle haats. According to UNB correspondent from bordering districts, the cattle inflow from India, both legally and illegally, has dropped significantly this year.
The reporter also found that though huge cattle are being brought into the cattle markets, the number of buyers were comparatively few till now.
The leasers of the cattle market informed that people are coming in market to see the price situation of the cattle. Some people have purchased various sacrificial animals so far.
Buyers complained that traders are charging high price for the sacrificial animals compared to the last few years.
A buyer Shamim Ahmed who came to see the market situation said, the price of the sacrificial animals were quite high this year. On the other hand, the sellers claimed that they had to spend a huge amount of money for the fodder and also had to spend much as transportation cost for bringing the cattle in the capital.
“We had no option to ask for the high price of the sacrificial animals due to the overall situation,“ said the sellers.
Visiting the cattle market of Chairman Bari intersection at Kamrangirchar, Gopibagh Balur Math and open spaces adjacent to Kamalapur Stadium and Dhupkhola playground, UNB correspondent found a huge number of cattle.
“There is a big collection of locally-reared cattle compared to the previous years as indigenous farmers are getting benefitted selling the locally-reared variety cattle for the past few years”, informed the lease holders.
Some 25 makeshift cattle markets were set up in the capital under Dhaka North and South City Corporations (DNCC and DSCC), up from 22 last year.
The DSCC is hosting 14 cattle markets, while the DNCC is accommodating the other 11. Apart from the makeshift cattle markets, the permanent cattle market at Gabtoli is also busy doing brisk business.
The cattle markets under the DSCC will be located at Meradia Bazar Playground, open spaces of Dhupkhola playground, No. 41 Kawartek playground, open spaces of Amulia Model Town, Aftabnagar Eastern Housing Dawkandi Endulia, Maitree Shangho playground, Shyampur Balur Math, No. 32 Shamsabad playground, Hazaribagh field at Zigatola, Lalbagh Rahmatganj playground, Chairman Bari intersection at Kamrangirchar, Gopibagh Balur Math and open spaces adjacent to Kamalapur Stadium and open space of ShanirAkhra-Daniya playground.
The cattle markets under the DNCC are : Open spaces at Kawla-Shialdanga, Uttara-10 Sluice gate to Kamarpara Bridge, open spaces on north side of Mirpur DOHS, open spaces of Dhaka Polytechnic Institute, open spaces of Shahidnagar Housing in Uttarkhan, Badda Eastern Housing (Aftabnagar), open space of Eastern Housing at Mirpur- 6, Khilkhet Banorupa Residential Project, open spaces near the bridge No 1 and 2 at Uttara Sector 15, Bhatara (Sayed Nagar), Mohammadpur Intellectual Road adjacent open spaces, and open spaces of both side of the 300 Feet road of Khilkhet.
DSCC authority informed that if a leaseholder violates the condition, action will be taken against them as specific date for preparing the cattle market and selling was included in the terms and conditions.
Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Mohammad Sayed Khokon said mobile court will be conducted against those who do not obey the lease terms.
Dhaka, Aug 7 (UNB) - Urging people not to be worried about the current dengue situation, Health Minister Zahid Malik has said his ministry has formed 10 high-level teams to monitor the dengue situation round the clock.
“A cell has been opened at the ministry which is monitoring whether doctors are working or not and taking instant actions if any negligence is found,” the minister told UNB in an interview.
He said all the civil surgeons have been alerted over the situation and medical teams are being sent to each district to provide training on dengue treatment.
Besides, Zahid Malik said, a booklet or guideline is being distributed among people to raise awareness and control dengue.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) is in touch with foreign doctors to learn their experiences about dengue treatment, the minister said.
Responding to a question, he said, “We were concerned about the Eid time. The Eid vacation of the officials concerned has already been cancelled and we’re monitoring the situation constantly.”
There is no shortage of doctors, nurses as well as dengue testing kits and saline, the minister affirmed.
Suggesting all not to be panicked, Zahid Malik said they are working together so that people can be freed from dengue infection through proper treatment.
Responding to another question, the Health Minister said people are crowding hospitals for dengue test just out of fear.
In the last week, he mentioned, only 16 people found with dengue infections out of 600 who underwent tests at Dhaka Medical College Hospital while seven out of 163 at Dhaka Sishu Hospital.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), a total of 2,348 people were infected with dengue in the 24 hours till Tuesday morning.
Of them, 1,284 were infected in the capital alone and five of them were suffering from dengue hemorrhagic while another from dengue shock syndrome.
A total of 29,912 people were hospitalised across the country with dengue since January 1.
At least 7,968 patients, including children, are undergoing treatment at hospitals now, while the rest were discharged after treatment. Currently, a total of 5,182 patients are undergoing treatment at different hospitals in Dhaka, it said.
During the period, 23 dengue patients died, all in the capital, the DGHS said although the unofficial estimates suggest the death toll is much higher.
Dhaka, Aug 6 (UNB) – With entire Bangladesh grappling with the worsening dengue situation, a WHO expert has shared some important and new information about the fever, including the reason behind its rapid spread, and its carrier Aedes mosquito.
He said a single female Aedes mosquito, which sucks blood in every alternative day, bites 5-17 people a day during the daytime to meet its need for blood, and as it can survive for upto 30 days in ideal conditions, it can, therefore, infect over 75 people in its entire lifecycle.
Another reason behind so many infections by a mosquito is that when one person feels its biting and reacts accordingly, it to flies to another person, said Dr BN Nagpal, Senior Entomologist of WHO Southeast Asia region.
Attending a media briefing arranged by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in the city on Monday, he elaborated the reasons behind the growing dengue cases and the ineffective attempt to eliminate the threat of Aedes mosquito.
An adult Aedes mosquito never rests on open spaces as it requires hot and humid conditions away from light, Dr Nagpal said. “They rest under the sofa, under the bed...because they need darkness and humidity,” he said, adding that due to such unusual biology, Aedes mosquito cannot be killed by applying insecticides through fogging machines on streets.
“WHO has totally stopped the recommendation of fog,” he said, adding that as it rests inside the house, the mosquito does not come in contact with the chemical. “The spray can work in semi-urban or rural areas, but fails in urban areas.”
Shedding light on the breeding habit of Aedes aegypti species, the carrier of dengue virus, Dr Nagpal who has worked on mosquito-borne diseases for 40 years termed the notion that it lays eggs on water as a myth. “This mosquito is a smart one. A female Aedes mosquito lays eggs on the brims of containers. In ideal conditions, eggs can survive for upto one year.”
“When there’s flood or when the container is full to the brim, eggs hatch rapidly. As little as two millilitres of water is sufficient for the hatching of larvae,” he said.
The WHO expert shared another important fact that a single female Aedes mosquito lays eggs, 60-100 in total, on the brims of every container within its vicinity.
Dr Nagpal warned that these eggs can be transported a long distance in dry conditions.
According to WHO, the outbreak of dengue is a common phenomenon in all regions across the globe in recent times compared to the past when dengue was only known to a fewer countries.
“Before 1970, only nine countries were affected with dengue. At present, 126 countries are infected with it,” said the WHO expert.
Although data suggests that the cases of dengue disease have skyrocketed, its dissection shows decreased mortality among patients. “From 2011, the dengue diseases are increasing everywhere but the fatality rate is decreasing...because the management has improved,” he added.
Dr Nagpal put emphasis on cleanliness over the use of insecticides on the street to prevent dengue infection. “It’s necessary that you keep your houses clean to avoid the dengue infection,” he said.
He also underscored the need for disposal of unused containers and advised for properly cleaning the empty containers and even placing them upside down to prevent the mosquito from hatching.
The WHO expert emphasised detecting the sources of mosquitoes to eliminate them, saying it is the best method during this time of distress.
He also recommended the use of aerosol instead of fogging method as it can easily reach places where the Aedes mosquito rests.
Dr Nagpal urged everyone to convey the message of cleanliness to arrest the dengue outbreak.
He advised all the government agencies, including transport, police, airport authorities, horticulture department and the civil department, to work collaboratively to this end.
The WHO expert said keeping the different institutions such as schools, hospitals, urban households, construction sites and offices clean can reduce the dengue outbreak to a significant level.
According to the DGHS, total of 2,065 people were infected with dengue in 124 hours till Monday morning.
Of them, 1159 were infected in the capital alone and nine of them were suffering from dengue hemorrhagic while two others from dengue shock syndrome.
A total of 27,437 people were hospitalised with dengue since 1 January.
At least 7,658 patients, including children, are undergoing treatment at hospitals now, while the rest were discharged after treatment. Currently, a total of 4,962 patients were undergoing treatment in different hospitals in Dhaka, it said.
During the period, 18 dengue patients died, all in the capital, the DGHS said although the unofficial estimates suggest the death toll is much higher.
Dhaka, Aug 6 (UNB) - Nurul Hossain, the lone breadwinner of a 10-member family in Teknaf upazila of Cox’s Bazar district, has been in dire straits trying to make ends meet ever since losing his cultivable land due to the influx of Rohingyas into his locality from neighbouring Myanmar.
Hossain, in his mid-50s, had to give away 60 decimals of land inside Unchiprang Rohingya camp under Whykong union though his family’s livelihood was largely dependent on the land alongside his earning as a day-labourer.
Hossain met a harsh reality as his income as a day-labourer also declined to less than half after the displaced Myanmar nationals took shelter in the district, forcing him to start a small grocery at Roykong village.
As his daily sale was only Tk 500-Tk 600, which was not enough to meet his family expenses, he sought donation from the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) to expand his business and ultimately received Tk 25,000 under its 'Micro Economic Initiatives (MEI)’ barely three months back.
With the money, Hossain bought a refrigerator on installments making the down payment of Tk 10,000 and invested the rest of the money in the shop. He also set up a small poultry farm borrowing money and now the daily sale of the shop is Tk 2,000-Tk 2,200.
Although there is a rise in his income, Hossain still faces difficulty in meeting the family needs. “We used to cultivate vegetables and crops on the land located inside the Rohingya camp. But we lost the land. Like me, other villagers are facing hardship after Rohingyas came here,” he said.
Abdul Bahadur, 32, a farmer of Roykhong village who is the sole earner of a six-member family, said he became almost unemployed as he lost 40 decimals of arable land due to Rohingya camp. “I used to earn Tk 1 lakh from the land which was leased from the Forest Department after every six months. But I’m now almost unemployed.”
Putu Barua, 45, another inhabitant of Roykhong who used to lead his livelihood catching crabs in the Naf River and making crab-catching tools (Chai), now found herself in great difficulty as they can hardly access the river following a restriction on movement in the bordering areas.
Now, he is dependent solely on making crab-trapping tools and had to take Tk 25,000 as donation from ICRC to boost his production.
Putu purchases a bamboo at Tk 450-Tk 500 to make 17-18 trapping tools (chai). He sells a chai at Tk 100-Tk 150 and earns upto Tk 350 a day but still faces difficulty to meet the family expenses.
Rahima Begum, 20, wife of a day-labourer Mohammad Hossain at Chakmarkul village under Whykong union, said the income of her husband sharply declined after the Rohingya influx.
Rahima, mother of two girls, used to do tailoring work occasionally to support her family. But now she has to do full-time tailoring work as the daily income of her husband declined to Tk 300 from Tk 700-Tk 800, which is not enough to meet the family needs.
The five-member family is now largely dependent on Rahima’s income earned from tailoring and she bought a new sewing machine taking donation from ICRC. Now Rahima can earn Tk 300-Tk 400 daily from the tailoring.
Like them, many local residents, particularly the poor ones, are still struggling to earn their livelihoods although two years have elapsed since the Rohingya exodus.
Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) of Cox’s Bazar Mohammad Ashraful Afsar said the real income of local people has declined due to the hike in the prices of daily essentials.
He, however, said the administration is trying to raise their income in various ways.
Noting that some 150 non-government organisations are working for Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar, he said at least 25 percent of all the funds allocated for Rohingyas will have to be kept aside for the local communities. “We’ve also asked the NGOs to give priority to local people in case of employment and ensure minimum wage of Tk 500-Tk 550 for a day-labourer,” he said.
The NGO Affairs Bureau on July 15 last issued a gazette notification asking all the NGOs, which would submit project proposals to assist the displaced Rohingyas, to allocate 25-30 percent of the funds for the local people.
Zafar Alam Chowdhury, former Teknaf upazila Awami League President, said the purchasing capacity of the poor people has declined as the prices of essential commodities have gone up following the influx of Rohingyas.
Head of ICRC’s Cox's Bazar office Sabrina Denuncq said the ICRC together with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) launched livelihood support activities in 2018 for the host families in the areas surrounding the camps to address the livelihood need of the most vulnerable families affected by the influx of displaced people from Myanmar in Teknaf.
She said ICRC has so far provided cash grants to the tune of Tk 37.2 million among a total of 1,326 families at Whykong and Nhila unions in Teknaf under its MEI project.
ICRC provides a Tk 25,000-Tk 30,000 donation to each family when they came up with income generating ideas, she added.
Sabrina Denuncq said the ICRC will also start vocational training programme soon to diversify the skills of the host communities.
Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and most of them entered the country after August 25, 2017 fleeing persecution in Myanmar.
Though Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a deal on November 23, 2017 over the repatriation of Rohingya, not a single Myanmar national has so far returned to their place of origin – Rakhine.