Health workers sceptical about the quality of PPEs: survey

Twenty-five percent of doctors and 60 percent of nurses engaged in treating coronavirus patients have not yet received personal protective equipment, or PPEs, and those who have are sceptical of its effectiveness, according to a survey.

Published : 18 April 2020, 11:29 AM
Updated : 18 April 2020, 11:30 AM

The findings were made public in a virtual media briefing on Saturday by BRAC University’s James P Grant School of Public Health and Bangladesh Health Watch.

"Seventy-five percent of frontline doctors and 40 percent of the nurses have received PPEs. However, they are sceptical about the quality of the raincoat-like PPEs,” said Bushra Zerin Islam, a researcher involved in the survey.

“The World Health Organisation recommends the PPEs to be used once and then destroyed. But our health workers are being told to reuse their equipment. These issues are causing a great deal of stress among the health workers.”

The survey found the doctors had undertaken the initiative to study the WHO’s guidelines on wear, use and management of the PPEs on their own accord but most of the nurses were not given any training regarding the matter. 

Researchers said 60 doctors and nurses from 43 hospitals and health centres in 14 districts participated in the survey by telephone. The survey was conducted from Apr 9-14.

Another survey was conducted by BRAC University’s School of Public Health about the coronavirus awareness level among the people.

There is a serious lack of awareness about the disease, said researcher Atanu Rabbani.

“A lot of people still do not know how the disease spreads.”

High levels of fear and panic were seen among the poor of Dhaka city and the Hijra population regarding the coronavirus, according to two surveys conducted among slum dwellers and Hijras.

“The Hijra community has been speculating that they will not receive any treatment and will die from the disease. Their income is also taking a hit. Since they travel in groups, they are being thought of as carriers of the virus. They are becoming even more marginalised now,” said Bachera Aktar, a researcher.