An influx of child patients with typhoid and cold-induced diseases including pneumonia has been causing overcrowding over the last month at paediatric ward of Patuakhali 250-bed General Hospital.
In an attempt to treat maximum possible patients at the 48-bed ward, the authorities have been allocating each bed for two patients along with their attendants.
Tania Begum, from west Badurtoli village in Kalapara upazila, said she admitted her 42-day-old daughter Meem at Kalapara Upazila Health Complex on Wednesday as she had been suffering from fever and cough for one week.
After her child was transferred to the general hospital on Saturday, Meem and she had been sharing the hospital bed with another child patient and her attendant.
Tania Begum, mother of the other patient, said they were being compelled to share the same bed as the ward was facing overcapacity and she feared that the congestion might pose Covid-19 and other health risks to patients and attendants alike.
Tanjila of Dibuapur village in Sadar upazila said her baby boy, Saif, had caught cold and had been suffering from fever and difficulty in breathing.
Since the five days her son had been admitted there, the bed had to be shared with another child patient, resulting in various problems for both patients, including disturbance during sleep.
Besides, unable to maintain safe distancing might be hazardous for all, especially amid the ongoing spread of the coronavirus pandemic, she added.
The child patient next to Meem and Saif's bed was five-month-old Abdullah, son of Ayesha Begum, from Mirzaganj village in Mirzaganj upazila. Abdullah was admitted with fever and cough for one week.
The patient sharing Abdullah's bed was pneumonia patient Fatema, daughter of Zahida Begum, from Dharandi village in Sadar upazila.
On Sunday, when this correspondent visited the paediatric ward, no bed was found vacant and all the beds were being occupied by multiple patients and their attendants, without being able to follow Covid-19 safety guidelines.
Ayesha Akhter, a nursing staff at the ward, said 74 patients were under treatment at the ward that day.
Over the last 30 days, the number of patients had been on the rise at the ward, where 681 patients were treated and eight of them died, she also said.
Paediatrician Subrata Roy, the in-charge of the ward, said as the rising number of patients with typhoid and cold-induced diseases, including pneumonia, is beyond the capacity of the ward, they had no other alternative but to allocate each bed for multiple patients.
However, he ruled out concerns for contraction of Covid-19 and other diseases due to the overcrowding.
Advising better health awareness among parents of children, he said parents have to be watchful and ensure that the children drink plenty of safe water, sweat on the children's body is wiped off as frequently as possible and they are provided a hygienic environment.