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Save the Children seeks help for Bangladesh amid virus

Organization seeks urgent international assistance amid severe shortage of ventilators in country for COVID-19 patients

SM Najmus Sakib   | 08.04.2020
Save the Children seeks help for Bangladesh amid virus

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Charity organization Save the Children made an urgent appeal Tuesday for international assistance to help Bangladesh avert a potential humanitarian disaster, citing a surge in demand for ventilators to combat the novel coronavirus. 

Bangladesh has less than 2,000 ventilators for a population of 165 million people and there are no ventilators in southeastern Cox’s Bazar District, home to more than three million, including one million Rohingya refugees, it said in a statement.

Most of the country’s intensive care beds and ventilators are in major urban centers including the capital Dhaka, making it difficult for remote communities to access them, it said.

“There are reportedly 1,769 ventilators in Bangladesh at this moment or in the pipeline, which means an average of one ventilator for every 93,273 people,” it said.

The lack of ventilators in Cox’s Bazar means lives will be lost when the coronavirus starts spreading more widely in the community, it added.

Dr. Shamim Jahan, deputy country director for Save the Children in Bangladesh, said at present, it is difficult for Bangladesh to meet the expected surge in demand for ventilators to help respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It is therefore essential that world leaders – in particular the G20 countries – commit to a coordinated global plan underpinned by debt relief. We also urge the Bangladesh government to engage the public and private sectors urgently to secure ventilators for COVID-19 patients.”

Bangladesh reported 41 new COVID-19 cases and five fatalities Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 164 and the death toll to 17.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths worldwide passed a new milestone late Tuesday with more than 81,000 fatalities reported, according to data by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 184 countries and regions with over 1.4 million cases.

The university's running tally also counted over 298,000 recoveries.

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