Bangladesh: frontline eye healthcare worker tests positive for COVID-19

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Dubai, 25 June: An ophthalmic nurse who works at The Fred Hollows-supported diabetic retinopathy zone to restore sight has tested positive for the virus.

Mahamuda Mukul, 45, is a senior ophthalmic nurse and a mother-of-2, who tested positive on 11 June 2020.

She had been working at The Fred Hollows-supported diabetic retinopathy zone at Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital in Barishal since 2017. She is the first case of front-line eye health care worker being exposed to the virus.

She lives with two of her children in Barishal Sadar. Her husband, 48, is a farmer, and had to move away to secure a source of livelihood to support his family.

Earlier this month, Mahamuda felt unwell continuously for a few days. She developed fever, cough and chest tightness and suspected that she might have contracted coronavirus.

Mahamuda saw her doctor and was tested and told she had coronavirus. She was very upset. She suffers from asthma which makes her more vulnerable and her symptoms worse. Fortunately, she did not develop severe coronavirus symptoms that required hospitalization or oxygen support.

Mahamuda and her children went into quarantine while she recovered. Fortunately, her family members tested negative for coronavirus. It was such a relief for Mahamuda to hear that she did not pass the virus onto her family and they are well and safe.

Being on the frontline in the fight against the pandemic, Mahamuda hopes to receive medical treatment support from the Medical College or the government.

Her 20-year-old daughter is looking after the family while Mahamuda she is recovering from coronavirus. She is asking for continued prayers for a quick recovery and to be declared “coronavirus-free” very soon.

The Fred Hollows Foundation’s priority is to protect the safety of patients, communities and eye health workers, as well as our staff. Last April, with support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program, The Foundation supplied personal protective equipment to partners assisting nearly 100 eye care workers.

In 2016, The Foundation and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust established a Diabetic Retinopathy zone at Sher-E-Bangla Medical College Hospital, Barishal, Bangldesh. The zone has screened 2610 people and provided 400 diabetic retinopathy treatments since its opening.

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