Corona Infodemic: Expert suggests listening to only health professionals
Publish- April 08, 2020, 08:05 AM
AKM Moinuddin - UNB Staff Writer
Update- April 08, 2020, 08:45 AM
Dr. Shafi Bhuiyan, an internationally-recognised leader in global public health and education initiative, has suggested people to listen to health professionals only as confusing messages from unlimited sources are flooding the public domain amid global coronavirus pandemic.
"We must listen to health professionals both at home and abroad, others shouldn't talk too much about COVID-19 issues," Dr Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh-origin health professional in Canada told UNB.
He said Bangladesh can ensure the best utilisation of countrywide existing health infrastructure keeping health complexes up to upazila level prepared to deal with the situation as nobody knows how far it might go in Bangladesh.
"We’ve great health infrastructure across Bangladesh up to the upazila level. This must be utilised with required testing and treatment facilities if the situation demands," said Dr Bhuiyan who has founded a programme at Ryerson University's Chang School of Continuing Education that prepares internationally-trained doctors for non-licensed work in Canada's health sector.
The government has decided to provide incentives for doctors, nurses, health workers and other employees of the republic who deployed themselves with bravery in the war against COVID-19.
"I want to reward those who were engaged directly in the fight against COVID-19 since March," said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday.
He said there is a significant development in Bangladesh's ICT sector which needs to be utilised properly at this difficult time. "We need to create awareness-raising messages in digital form that can easily be understood by common people, even everyone in remote areas," said Dr Bhuiyan.
He said mobile phone operators can generate such messages so that those easily understandable messages reach all the mobile phone subscribers across the country.
For example, he said, subscribers will receive automatic calls every hour, and upon receiving the call, subscribers will hear awareness messages, including the latest government directives, he said.
"This is a new crisis, all must accept the new normal," said the health professional who is monitoring the evolving situation across the world.
Now mobile phone subscribers in Bangladesh hear a recorded message before a phone call gets connected with the receiver of the call.
Talking about mental health at this stressful moment, Dr Bhuiyan said mental health is extremely important, too. "Spending time with families is crucial to stay cheerful instead of getting stressed."
Dr. Bhuiyan who holds position at Ryerson as distinguished visiting Professor, said lessons need to be learned from other countries while dealing with coronavirus issues.
"We know this virus may last for 14 weeks to get its peak anywhere in the world, and the situation may prolong," said the health expert who is living abroad since 2001.
He also laid emphasis on encouraging young people to get them engaged in volunteering.
Meanwhile, Dr. Zhang Wenhong, Professor and Head of the Center for Infectious Disease, Huashan Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai, will share his experience and answer Bangladeshi counterparts’ questions about the pandemic.
The videoconference will be held on Wednesday at 1pm (BDT), an official at the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka told UNB.
Five more people died from coronavirus in Bangladesh in the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 17, according to the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).
Besides, 41 other people tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, raising the number of such cases in the country to 164, said IEDCR director Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora in an online briefing Tuesday.