Health & Safety


I still do not understand the reason behind the intense media mania on Abdul Jalil. Mr Jalil was an important factor as GS and spokesperson of his party. But his shameful surrender of ideal and political stand only after one day of jail sentence is adequate to make him irrelevant in politics.  But the sudden media hype over Mr Jalil’s recent ‘life threatening’ illness and emergency Singapore trip is very disgusting. Even after Mr Jalil left for Singapore, media keeps on pushing their pathetic reporting. Todays newspaper headlines were ‘Jalil wakes up from anethesia after two hours’, ‘Jalil talks’, ‘Jalil’s wife calls their sons’, ‘ Jalil’s surgery successful’, blah blah blah….

Most shameful of all is that there was no pressing emergency to send Jalil to Singapore. Medical journalism is terrible in Bangladesh. Whatever I could decipher is that Mr Jalil has kidney dysfunction. There are 20 million people in Bangladesh with Kidney disease, and between 20-50 thousand people develop kidney failure each year. Mr Jalil was also developing kidney failure. Kidney failure is a slow process.  His options were to either start dialysis once there is total shutdown  and I am pretty sure, by looking at his photos, he is not there yet (This may be months to a year from now) . Any sane approach was to be prepared for dialysis by preparing a vascular access in his arm through which dialysis may be started quickly once there is complete shutdown.  Singapore physicians are doing exactly that. The surgery they are talking about in newspapers was this access procedure.  And to be fair to Bangladeshi physicians, this procedure can be performed in Bangladesh. It is a very simple procedure and there are many physicians in Bangladesh who do it on a daily basis.  And there are many people in Bangladesh who are continuing their job or running businesses while attending three times a week dialysis.  The other option was kidney transplant. This is another stupid reporting. First, Mr Jalil is not even on dialysis, that means his kidneys are still functional.  Transplant could be considered once a patient is on dialysis for a considerable length of time.  And preparation for transplant may take years. First thing, one has to manage a good kidney. This is something you can not find in a medicine store in Singapore. Somebody has to donate it. I doubt Mr Jalil’s family members will donate their kidney. That means he has to buy a kidney. That further means that some poor soul in Bangladesh will have to sell his kidney. And even one simply can’t buy a kidney from just anybody. There has to be different kind of immune matching including blood group, HLA etc.

So all the media stuff about Jalil’s life was at stake and he had no option but to go to Singapore for emergency kidney transplant were all BS.

Jalil’s case is an example. After closely following all the events in Bangladesh, I can categorically say that I have not yet come across any single illness of any high profile political prisoner in Bangladesh who genuinely needs treatment abroad.

This government must release all the political prisoners. They must be released without any condition. No release should be under disguise and condition of parole for foreign treatment. There should be a limit to deception.

And this blog post is not even discussing a more fundamental question of the moral right of our political/ administrative leaders foreign trips for every minor medical care while the rest of the country has to depend on local services for the same treatments.

The demolition of Rangs Bhaban was a symbolic equivalent of the 1/11 military government. Exactly as what was with Rangs Bhaban, i.e. spectacular demolition an imposing indestructible structure; this military government embarked on a similar larger scale project with whole of Bangladesh.

Rangs Bhaban demolition in 24 hours notice was termed as a symbolic victory over corruption. Look at this blog and read in the comment section how the early supporters of this military government drooled at this fiesta of destruction.

However, as warned by a few, the bulldozer revolution of 1/11 faltered all through its way. The military government came with promises of rooting out and cleansing the country of corruption. Well nearly one year later, corruption is as rampant as before and none of the so called corruption kings could be convicted in corruption charge. All the unbelievable number of jail years given to politicians are all income tax or firearms cases. Any of the members of the current government can easily be implicated in similar income tax or firearm crimes. Then the bulldozer revolution tried to beautify Dhaka by destroying slums, control the markets by sending soldiers to market places, and control politics by purchasing some collaborator politicians and editors. And fortunately for the people of Bangladesh, all these misadventures failed.

Rangs Bhaban ( although Governments’ collaborators initially tried to publicize that it was built on illegal land, court order confirms that it was not) was evacuated in 24 hours notice, hundreds of businesses got uprooted, and some RAJUK daily laborers broke the beautiful glass walls with big hammers.

Soon the bulldozer revolutionaries started grasping the magnitude of the job and their inability to finish the job they started. A company was allocated the demolition job ( Hint hint: Lt Geneal Hasan Masud). The nation was told that a demolition expert company would do that job with surgical precision.

Well several months later, we now hear that the job was taken by a company which had no idea of the enormity of the job. Only experience they had so far was demolition of two very old three story one unit flat building in Chittagong. And even that company did not keep the job to themselves. They charged the government 75 lac taka and subcontracted it to labor contractors for 25 lac taka, thus earning 50 lac taka by only being a collaborator.
And the result is very visible today.

driving-towards-rangs-bhaban-photo-dhaka.jpgrangs-bhaban.jpg

Look at the mess this government has put us into. This is what happens when the wrong people embark into a job which they do not know how to handle and which is not their job either.

Rangs Bhaban is precariously hanging in the air today. Partly collapsed, the rest of the huge structure may collapse any moment. Dead bodies are hanging from the rubbles. Per different newspaper reports, as many as 30 workers are still trapped under the towering rubbles. No rescue operation is being planned as the building is too difficult to approach.

In previous thread termed Rangs Rongo, many of the military government apologetics boasted that Rangs Bhaban was the symbol of this governments’ crusade against corruption. I agree with them. The current state of Rangs Bhaban is the symbol of this military government.

And most unfortunately, the victims of these misadventures are not us, nor our elite brethren in Bangladesh. The victims are the poor people in Bangladesh. The decision makers of Rangs demolition will roam around and chatter around happily, the conspirators, collaborators of 1/11 bulldozer revolution will keep enjoying the advisorial, editorial, ambassadorial perks, but the poor people of Bangladesh will keep hanging like that poor soul in the picture. Someone buried under Rangs rubbles, the rest of them buried under the soaring price of essential basic food items.

It’s a mess. A big big mess.

A lead newsitem following Mr. Wahidul Haq’s death was donation of his body for medical science. His body was handed over to BSMMU. In the past, several similar gestures and wishes could not be fulfilled due to family unwillingness as well as inaction of the authority citing lack of guideline and law. When Aroj ali Matubbor first donated his body for medical science, that created a huge backlash and controversy. Writer Humayun Azad’s wishes could not be fulfilled as apparently the family was not sure about it. In this context after death, Mt Wahidul Haq created another milestone in Bangladesh. He finally succeded in donating his body while all previous attempts failed.

With his donation Mr Wahidul Haq threw a challenge to the medical community of Bangladesh. Now it was the responsibility of the medical community to harvest all the organs and save multiple lives by transplanting them. I don’t know what exactly happeneded with his body, but I doubt his organs could have been harvested for proper transplantation. We simply do not have an efficient system in effect to harvest body organs and parts those can be life saving to others.

In this juncture I also take the opportunity to remember Dr Enamul Haq who first donated his cornea in Bangladesh. In a very humble move late Shahadat Chowdhury, ex editor of Bichitra and 2000, was the one who came forward to receive that cornea for his injured eye. Thanks to the way they showed, only organs that is regularly harvested in Bangladesh is the cornea (eye).

I hope, thanks to the way Mr Wahidul Haq showed just showed us, someday our poor healthy young man and women will no longer have to sell their organs. Posthumous donations will ensure enough organs for transplantation.

Related Blog is here.

A major disadvantage for them is that they work and live out of our views, even out of the radar screen of any dedicated NGO. Otherwise, like garments industry workers, ship breaking workers, the deep sea fisherman of Bangladesh are also vital to Bangladesh economy and with their blood and toil, Bangladesh earns millions of foreign currency every year.

These fishermen, while fishing with their self made trawlers, brave the rough seas at the largest and arguably the wildest delta of the world. They compete with the fishermen from neighboring countries who has modern sonar, radar, automated net and fishing gear equipped vessels and yet they come back home with catch enough to sustain the economy of the country.
Because they live in so remote coastal parts of Bangladesh, there is very limited knowledge about their life.

However, on a regular basis we read in newspapers about missing fishermen in the Bay of Bengal. This is almost a monthly event. We never know how many actually ever return. There is no registry for these people who are lost on a regular basis.

They have many problems, first being the danger of working in the rough seas with ill equipped boat without any navigational and rescue device.

Without navigation knowledge and equipment, very frequently they find themselves in foreign water and a large number of Bangladeshi fishermen are now in jail in countries like India, Myanmar, Thailand etc.

They don’t get adequate wages for their risky and very hard job. The fishermen can only keep 40% of the catch while 60% goes to the owner of the trawler. Yet, unlike garments workers, they have no association and their anger/sorrow is far removed from our policy makers to really make any law protecting their rights. Here is a picture of some fisherman who otherwise would be another 40 lost fishermen lost in the Bay of Bengal. But luckily they were rescued from yesterday’s storm.

In a blog titled ” What Khaleda Zia should tell India”, about six months ago, I wrote the following,

she should mention of a more serious threat, coming out of India through it’s border into Bangladesh.

She should remind India that rather than spending money in rocket, nuclear science, and not pretending to be world’s most advanced country, India should focus a bit more into some basic issues.

She shoukld tell that ..”Only 4 countries are still polio-endemic – : Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. ” This deadly polio virus is more dangerous than any possble terrorism.

Bangladesh is a succes story in immunization campaign agaist different deadly diseases. Polio was eradicated six years ago. But as India ( While focused on showcasing herself as world’s super power, did a poor job eradicating Polio; and this polio is spreading Back to Bangladesh.

Following this blog, I took a great deal of lashing as being an ultranationalist xenophobic, anti-India bigot, religious fanatic etc. However better late than never , World health Organization has finally came out with this statement yesterday, India actively ‘exporting’ polio to Bangladesh. I am not surprised at this statement. Considering the gravity of the situation, I knew it was coming.

Yesterday I wrote about Bangladesh being the Asian hub of MDR TB putting the whole region at great danger of having a MDR TB epidemic.

These are not issues of politics. These are matters of priority. While India is busy climbing up the stairs to become a superpower, they are forced to neglect in this basic sectors. At the same time, Bangladesh turned into a five year cycle of election-new government-political agitation-hartal-violence-lathicharge-caretaker govt.-new govt. Other than sporadic incidents, issues other than good old politics has been out of public’s mind.

We must set our priorities straight. We must tackle these looming public health calamities with all the resources we have. There is no alternative to political stability, national consensus, good governance and regional cooperation to achieve our goal. We can’t afford to fail in this endeavour.

Can there be any worse terrorist in the world than that kills one people every ten minutes?

***************************************************************************

*TB kills one every 10 minutes in Bangladesh

*A total of 70,000 TB infected persons die each year and 300,000 new TB cases are expected every year in Bangladesh. Globally, one third of the world population is already infected with TB, while more than 10 million develop TB each year.
60 percent of the TB cases are still undetected.

*Millions of children are contracting TB every year. Our physicians are not adequately trained in treating children with TB. There are no curricula and any concerted effort in launching a campaign for treating children with TB.

*There are estimated 3-4% multi drug resistant TB in Bangladesh. There are very few available medication for multi-drug resistant TB and these medicine are not produced in Bangladesh. And some of these imported medications are abused as they are being used for common cold or viral infections without any real need. As a result, resistance is developing against these antibiotics in Bangladesh.

*Multi drug resistant TB is a clear and present danger. If we can’t control it now, a perilous future awaits us in Bangladesh.

* Bangladesh faces the possibility of being a pariah country where foreigners will not visit. An epidemic of multi-drug resistant TB may even prompt all foreigners currently living in Bangladesh to leave this country. Foreign business, investment, manpower export, all will stop. If Bangladesh fail to contain multi-drug resistant TB it will poses a grave danger to the dense population in this subcontinent.
****************************************************************************
****************************************************************************

Bangladesh has many problems. Jamaat, Shibir and Bangla Bhai are few of such problems. But while we are focused on those problems, please, let’s not forget about the clear and present danger like multi-drug resistant TB in Bangladesh.

In the early days of current BNP government, in the pre-RAB era, a crime drive called “Operation Clean heart” was initiated by the government. However this operation clean heart was popularly called ‘operation heart attack’ as those who were killed in this operation were all declared dying of heart attack.

Similarly another heart attack death occured yesterday, involving, this time, a member of police. During picketer-police hustle, a brick hit the police constable, Narayan’s forehead and later he was declared dead at Heart foundation hospital.

And spin regarding this death started even before the death was declared. State Minister for home immediately ceased the opportunity of this killing to put the blame squarely on opposition leader Sheikh Hasina’s raucous remarks.

And a counter spin was staged by news outlets like Daily Star, Prothom -alo etc. Their stance is that it was right that Narayan got hit in the forehead but he also had a heart attack at the same time.

All the party involved quoted the physicians at heart foundation hospital at their own sweet will.

The home minister’s vile efforts to politicize the unfortunate death against political opponent must be condemned.

At the same time conscientious souls should also condemn the double standard of media outlets like Daily Star or Prothom-Alo. These outlets claim aristocracy by preaching against Hartals, at the same time when this unfortunate death’s happen, they can’t hide partisanship while trying to undermine another hartal casualty by promoting it as a mere heart attack death.


The Daily Star photo declaring the death as heart attack death.

And again this incidence exposes our non existent trauma system. At many as 20% of head injury/ intracranial bleed patients may have presentation similar to heart attack, abnormal ECG, abnormal blood test that are usually found in heart attack etc. These kind of patients need CT scan of the brain to rule out bleeding and if there is a bleed, evacuating it and decompressing the brain becomes an urgency. As far as I could dig out from different newspapers, heart foundation doctors, being trained only in heart problems, and lacking significant exposure to head injury patients, naturally inclined to treat heart problem, which they know how to treat. But they probably didn’t know that the apparent heart attack like presentation may be the result of bleeding in the brain.
For the sake of truth, the country should know the exact cause of the death. I hope autopsy will reveal the truth.

Next Page »