Bashundhara Group makes history
Bashundhara Group’s historical act of patriotism will remain in the annals of medical science for times to come as the world’s second largest COVID-19 5,000-bed hospital, which it gifted for the welfare of the people, was launched on Sunday.
“It’s the second-largest hospital in the world dedicated to treating coronavirus patients,” Health Minister Zahid Maleque told a select gathering of guests and officials at the launching ceremony.
Construction of the hospital for the treatment of corona patients by the Bashundhara Group, the country’s leading business conglomerate, has designated its trade centre with 150,000 square feet and four convention centers with 90,000 square feet for the noble cause of treating people infected with the deadly virus.
The hospital has 2,013 isolation beds. Among them, oxygen cylinders have been attached to 71 beds. It also has at least 400 more portable oxygen cylinders.
The noble initiative of Bashundhara Group to convert its trade centre and convention centre into a makeshift hospital has already been acclaimed at home and abroad.
Health experts welcomed the patriotic gesture of the Group and said this act of humanity has placed the country’s leading business conglomerate in the history books of medical science.
The BBC carried a special report on the hospital along with an interview of Group Managing Director Sayem Sobhan Anvir, while, Khaleej Times of UAE also lauded the noble initiative of Bashundhara Group.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque launched the hospital at a simple ceremony the International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB) in the capital on Sunday accompanied by Sayem Sobhan Anvir.
Speaking on the occasion, the health minister said the Awami League government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took instant steps after Bangladesh registered its first case of corona infection in March.
Prior to it, the government enforced home quarantine of the expatriates returned to the country from various parts of the world to resist the spread of the deadly virus, he said.
Maleque said “We are always in contact with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who is giving timely decisions to ensure treatment of the patients, adequate supply of medial and other equipments. She is instantly permitting us to do the needful.”
About the operation of the ICCB hospital, he said 2,000 doctors and 6,000 nurses have already been appointed for the hospital, which will come into operation soon after recruitment of supporting staffs as well as other formalities.
The hospital will expand its function in three phases depending on the turnout of the patients, he said, adding every phase will consist of doctors, nurses and equipment needed for 500 beds.
Besides, ICCB hospital has ICU with 73 beds to treat critical patients with life support and ventilation facilities, he added.
Addressing as the special guest, Bashundhara Group Managing Director Sayem Sobhan Anvir said the business conglomerate has constructed the hospital to boost government efforts to combat corona and to stand by the people of Bangladesh in this crisis time.
He hailed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for accepting the hospital proposal of Bashundhara Group to construct the hospital and taking necessary steps for its materialisation.
Requesting the health ministry to reserve 200 seats in the hospital for the journalists, he said the people of this community are vulnerable for being frontline fighters during the corona pandemic.
In reply, health minister said journalists will get priority in all hospitals including ICCB considering their risky professional duties and great role in disseminating important information.
Health Secretary Md Asadul Islam, Bashundhara Group vice-chairman Safwan Sobhan Tasvir, Bangladesh Pratidin Editor and News24 television channel CEO Naem Nizam, Daily Kaler Kantho Editor Imdadul Haq Milan, Daily Sun Editor Enamul Hoque Chowdhury, Daily Kaler Kantho Acting Editor Mostafa Kamal and Banglanews24.com Editor Jewel Mazhar were present.
Additional Secretary Habibur Rahman Khan, director (hospitals and clinics) of DGHS Dr Aminul Hasan, DG Nursing and Midwifery Siddika Akter, Health Engineering Department chief engineer Brig Gen Mohammad Osman Sarwar, ICCB hospital director Dr Md Abdul Basar were present, among others.
Health Secretary Md Asadul Islam said Bangladesh is ahead of many rich and developed countries in addressing corona situation due to apt leadership of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He acknowledged the Bashundhara Group’s contribution in tackling the national crisis, saying national unity has boosted the country’s strength to overcome any challenge.
Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan had earlier sent a written proposal to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for building the makeshift hospital for corona patients at the ICCB.
Diplomats of different foreign missions and United Nations (UN) agencies in Dhaka have highly appreciated the initiative of Bashundhara Group.
They said the country’s largest hospital will contribute greatly to the treatment of corona virus patients.
The ICCB will be used as hospital for the time being and it will return to its previous status housing trade fairs and other events after the crisis is over.