A mobile team of physicians visits people in Sylhet as patients fear coronavirus infection at public hospitals
Doctors in personal protective gear are sitting behind a folding table under the open sky. Patients from adjacent neighbourhoods have arrived and are waiting for their turn - maintaining distance. The medical personnel would see them in turn.
This is how a mobile medical team in Sylhet city is providing patients with necessary health care.
Initiated by a local ward councillor on April 8, the service is holding medical camps at several areas of the metropolis.
Apart from visiting patients outdoors, the team is also attending comparatively more ailing patients at their homes.
Sylhet residents have appreciated the service as many doctors have closed private practices amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and private health facilities are denying patients with Covid-19 like symptoms.
Sabita Das, an elderly woman who received medical care from the team Saturday, said she had diabetes and high blood pressure. She was scared of seeking medical care at public hospitals amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"The mobile healthcare service was a blessing for me. The doctors gave me medications after check-up," said Sabita.
Sylhet divisional health directorate's Assistant Director Dr Anisur Rahman said many people have been facing inconveniences since the virus outbreak in Bangladesh.
"General patients are in a fix. This initiative is certainly easing their sufferings," said Dr Anisur Rahman.
The Sylhet medical team comprises two specialists in medicine and ENT and a number of MBBS doctors. It has provided people of wards 19, 20, 21 with medical care since April 8 and will operate for a total of 15 days.
Azadur Rahman, the local ward councillor who initiated the service, said most of the private clinics in Sylhet are not providing patients with adequate care. Besides, doctors are hesitating to tackle patients with fever, cough and flu.
"On the other hand, patients also fear getting infected upon hospital visits. The lockdown also bars them from seeking health care at medical facilities. Therefore, I thought of arranging a mobile medical service," said the ward councillor.
Azad, however, thinks just one team is not enough for the 22 wards of Sylhet city. He made a proposal to Sylhet City Corporation Mayor Ariful Haque Choudhury for arranging at least four such teams to cover all the wards.
Mayor Ariful Haque Choudhury said he was working on organising mobile medical teams and a city corporation hospital for general patients.