A cardiac unit in Bangladesh’s Chittagong, which runs in collaboration with a Calcutta hospital and was shut down in March as the Indian workforce returned home amid the Covid pandemic, is back in action again.
The outpatients department of the cardiology unit at Imperial Hospital in Chittagong resumed operations on Thursday. The unit runs in collaboration with the Narayana Health group in India.
The cardiology unit had been shut since March-end when the doctors and other healthcare workers from the RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences at Mukundapur, a flagship unit of the Narayana Health group, returned to Calcutta. They could not go back to Bangladesh as all flights were suspended because of the pandemic.
The team of 22 from Calcutta, including four doctors, reached Chittagong in two phases by December 1. Flights between India and Bangladesh resumed last month.
The Telegraph had on September 28 reported that around 160 heart patients, who were scheduled to undergo surgery or other procedures at the Chittagong hospital, had been calling desperately to find out when the unit would resume functioning.
It was around Durga Puja last year that the 350-bed hospital had tied up with the Calcutta hospital. The 65-bed cardiology was opened on February 16.
On Thursday, 36 patients turned up at Imperial Narayana Cardiac Center’s OPD for consultation, said an official. One of the patients was Md Imran Chowdhury, 40, a businessman from Chittagong.
“Since August I have been having pain on the left side of my chest. I had gone to local doctors… the pain is persisting. I could not go to Calcutta because flights were suspended. So, I had called up Imperial Hospital to know when the cardiac clinic would reopen,” Chowdhury said over the phone.
“The hospital finally gave me an appointment today. The doctor has advised some tests.”
Devi Shetty, the chairman of the Naryana Hrudayalaya group, said there were plans for further expansion of the unit. “Chittagong does not have facilities for treatment of cardiac ailments and cancer. We have plans to provide good quality treatment for cancer and heart ailments at affordable rates for all. Because of the pandemic, everything was delayed, but shortly we will be drawing up the strategy for expansion,” he said.
Binayak Chanda, a senior cardiac surgeon, is one of the doctors who went to Chittagong from Calcutta. “I had 19 patients whose surgeries were lined up before the unit was closed down in March. Eight of them have contacted us. By next week we will start operations,” Chanda said.