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April 20, 2024

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Bangladesh    Bangladesh   

Bangladesh, to the east of India on the Bay of Bengal, is a South Asian country marked by lush greenery and many waterways. Its Padma (Ganges), Meghna and Jamuna rivers create fertile plains, and travel by boat is common. On the southern coast, the Sundarbans, an enormous mangrove forest shared with Eastern India, is home to the royal Bengal tiger. ― Google

Capital: Dhaka

Dialing code: +880

Population: 163 million (2019) World Bank

Currency: Bangladeshi taka

President: Abdul Hamid

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In what can only be described as a health crisis, Bangladesh is grappling with a severe dengue outbreak that has taken a worrisome turn this year. As of July 18, 2023, the country has already recorded a staggering 127 fatalities from the mosquito-borne disease, a shocking five times higher than the previous year of 2022. The outbreak has spread to 60 districts, posing a significant risk to a large number of people.

The situation in Dhaka city, the epicenter of the outbreak, is particularly dire. Out of several hundred hospitals and clinics in the city, only 63 have been designated to report dengue cases to the surveillance system. In response to the surge in patients, Bangladesh Shishu Hospital and Institute have established a separate dengue cell, while the 800-bed Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Hospital has been transformed into a dedicated facility to treat dengue patients.

To further address the escalating crisis, the government has urged all medical colleges and public hospitals nationwide to open dedicated dengue wards and corners to accommodate the rising number of infections and fatalities.

The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has reported that the mosquito density this year is much higher compared to previous years, specifically 2019-2020. This increase is partly attributed to the late arrival and expected prolonged duration of the monsoon season, creating favorable conditions for the Aedes mosquito, carriers of the dengue virus, to thrive.

On July 18, 2023, a record-breaking 1,533 patients were admitted to hospitals due to dengue, bringing the total number of hospital admissions to a staggering 24,000 on the same date, with 63 percent of the patients being male and 37 percent female.

The pre-monsoon survey conducted by DGHS from June 18 to June 27, 2023, in Dhaka's two city corporations revealed alarming statistics. Around 20.04 percent of houses under the Dhaka North City Corporation and 15.47 percent of houses under the Dhaka South City Corporation were found to harbor Aedes mosquito larvae, indicating the widespread presence of the virus carriers. Dhaka City Corporation, in particular, has been severely impacted by the outbreak, reporting higher dengue cases and fatalities in July 2023 compared to the same period in 2021 and 2022. The city alone accounted for approximately 80 percent of this year's dengue-related deaths and 64.5 percent of total hospitalizations.

In response to the escalating crisis, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) organized an emergency coordination meeting on July 16, 2023, at the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC). The meeting aimed to analyze the current situation and discuss potential interventions in coordination with relevant BDRCS departments and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Recognizing the severity of the situation and the requests from city corporations and DGHS, BDRCS formally requested the IFRC on July 18, 2023, to allocate the Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) to assist in addressing the outbreak.

The situation remains critical as the dengue outbreak continues to escalate, posing significant challenges for Bangladesh's healthcare system and public health authorities. Urgent measures are needed to control the spread of the disease and prevent further loss of lives. Authorities are calling for public cooperation in taking preventive measures, such as eliminating breeding sites for mosquitoes and seeking prompt medical attention in case of any dengue-like symptoms.

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(IFRC)
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
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Humanitarian Impact
  5,500,000
      Affected Persons

OCHA coordinates the global emergency response to save lives and protect people in humanitarian crises.

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