Financial Express ।
Letters to the Editor । April 27, 2020 ।
Sajjad Zohir ।
Many may have seen Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury facing several representatives from the drug administration and medical profession who, along with the anchor of a television talk show, tried to nullify Gonoshasthaya Kendra’s(GSK’s) claim of an acceptable test kit.First, the person from drug administration insisted that the manufacturer had to submit protocol for carrying out the test and it was the manufacturer’s responsibility to get it examined and approved by a third party. The regulators in our country do not have the ability to assess acceptability of a drug or a test kit with its own resources! Nor are they willing to take initiative to get the examination done by a third party! As a citizen facing increased probability of death due to spread of corona virus, I find this absolutely unacceptable.
Second, I wonder if the same set of rules applies equally for drugs and test kits! While the drug administration may have the right to accept or reject test results obtained on following a procedure, do I not have the right to undertake tests as long as I do not incur harms to others? We would surely expect our regulators to inform users about the reliability of specific tests.
No anchor questioned the authority as to why it took almost 10 days to provide blood sample to GSK. Furthermore, the allegation of twisting words cannot be ruled out.On the following night, the anchor of another talk show concludes from one presentation that once the patients are in critical condition they ought to be moved to intensive care units (ICUs). A subsequent question posed to a medical practitioner (possibly from a government medical hospital) was direct, emphasising the need for ventilators. The physician tried to explain that only about 5.0 per cent patients reached the stage where they had to be moved to ICU and not all of them needed ventilators. The anchor cut her short and focused on the need for ventilators for those who reach critical condition!
It’s a matter of concern that evidence and reasoning are being twisted in a way that is not conducive to find cost effective solutions to the country’s ongoing problems with Covid-19.I only hope that all actors in the mass media realise the grave situation we are all in. Let science, professionalism get priority for factual information and unbiased reasoning guide our actions.
Mohakhali DOHS, Dhaka