Like elsewhere, due to the ongoing cold wave, many children in Bagerhat are also suffering from cold-related diseases.
One of them is six-month-old Tania.
On Thursday, worried Sonia Begum, a housewife from Afra village under Kachua upazila, took Tania to the Bagerhat Sadar Hospital as she was suffering from pneumonia.
But the worried mother could not treat her child there as there is no child specialist at the hospital. “I was scared and did not know what to do?” said Sonia.
The doctors then advised her to admit the little one to a private clinic.
Sonia's family lives on meagre income of her husband. Still, she took Tania to a clinic in Bagerhat and got her admitted there.
Tania is doing much better now.
But the six-month-old is not the only one who had to go through this.
In the last five days, at least 150 children were given primary treatment at the hospital. At present, at least 20 children are admitted to the hospital, said Medical Officer Sheikh Imran Mohammad.
However, many of the worried parents said they had to return without getting the desired medical services for their children. In addition, due to a shortage of doctors, the hospital is not being able to handle the influx of patients.
On Wednesday, Masum Sheikh, a rickshaw-puller from Kachua upazila, took his six-month-old son, suffering from pneumonia, to the hospital. Unable to treat his son there, he had to admit him to a private clinic.
Children are being admitted to the Bagerhat Sadar Hospital with cough, pneumonia, diarrhoea and other cold-related diseases. Many of them are getting initial treatment there and afterwards parents are admitting them to private clinics due to a lack of a specialist, said Afzal Hossain, father of a child suffering from respiratory problems.
“The treatment is expensive at private clinics,” he said, adding, “But what choices do we have?”
Sirajul Molla, a farmer from Chitalmari upazila, said his daughter was suffering from respiratory problems. “I had to admit my child elsewhere. Many are also coming here from far and then admitting their children to private clinics like me to save our children's lives.”
When asked, the medical officer of the hospital said the number of patients is increasing due to the cold. “We are serving as much as possible. As we don't have any pediatrician, we have to refer the children whose conditions are serious elsewhere.”
Dr Abul Kalam Azad, a child specialist at a private clinic in Bagerhat, said the clinics are witnessing a lot of child patients due to the cold.
Bagerhat Civil Surgeon Dr Arun Chandra Mondal said the child care unit of the hospital has all necessary equipment. It was introduced in 2015 with the help of Unicef. “Unfortunately, we do not have a child specialist.”
“Two child specialists joined us last year. One of them stayed for 15 days and the other for about a month and then left,” he added.
“We have informed the matter to the health ministry. Hopefully, a child specialist will join the hospital soon.”