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BD might face worst humanitarian crisis

The world is witnessing a new reality like some Hollywood movies due to the lockdown everywhere for the COVID-19 pandemic. Impacting millions of people, their livelihood, economies, etc. Not to mention that the poorest and developing countries like Bangladesh are the hardest hits in this new reality.

Coronavirus-impact-Bangladesh-face-humanitarian-crisis
Figure: In Bangladesh, only 15% of workers earn more than US$6 a day. The biggest question that arises how long this poorest of the population who earn daily can pull through this Coronavirus lockdown? 

The country is witnessing its one of the longest economic shutdowns – since 26 March – in its history. Exposing over 73 million labor force (Source: nationmaster.com) to the worst possible humanitarian crisis. The bustling capital Dhaka is now almost an empty town. Dhaka’s 10 million rickshaw drivers, day laborers, factory workers, maids, etc. rushed to go home before the lockdown.

According to World Bank data, only 15% of Bangladesh’s populace makes more than 500 takas ($5.90) a day and can meet their daily expenses, send their children to school, and hope that they reserve adequately for an emergency health crisis.

And most families in villages depend on the remittances from urban areas or abroad. Which is on pause due to the outbreak of the global pandemic. The same scenario everywhere, people’s income has stopped.

Where only 15% of workers earn more than US$6 a day. The biggest question that arises how long this poorest of the population who earn daily can pull through this Coronavirus lockdown?

As for battling Coronavirus the biggest question it poses, can Bangladesh public health sector successfully tackle this deadly respiratory disease?

Not to mention, the ultimate formula of social distancing worked really well in most countries, however, it is a luxury for densely populated Bangladesh.

Where maximum families’ capability to eat rest on daily wages and 87% of employment is created by the informal sector. The average household in Bangladesh has more than five members and usually includes three generations.

Families share one latrine and more than 80% of households living in slums share a water source with five or more other households.

There is no way to separate the old and the young; in other words, to separate the industrious adults from those whose age makes them more susceptible to serious illness and death.

To exercise the social distancing norms that most Western countries have trusted on to diminish transmission is proving to be completely impossible here.

Though the country has an extensive network of community health workers at the same time the country’s whole public health system has 432 intensive care units (ICU) beds, only 110 of which are outside of Dhaka. The private healthcare sector enhances another 737 – and this is for a population of 170 million.

Dhaka Medical College (DMC) and hospital, the main govt. medical facility in the country, over 500 patients seek out critical care monthly, and more than 400 are turned away due to lack of capacity.

Though this scenario depicts a grim image, there are hopeful signs of resilience among the nation.

The Bengali people have weathered cyclones, floods, and so much more. And have the ability to fight back strongly in any crisis moment. Yes, the COVID-19 is a new type of battle and it might take a while for the nation to win over this situation. But as mentioned above with premiere public health experts and institutions. A rich history of public-private partnerships in emergencies, and communities with incredible levels of resilience.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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