“Pope Francis has sent a ventilator for the intensive care unit as a gift. It is a blessing for us. It will be very useful for assisting coronavirus patients”: says to Agenzia Fides Father Kamal Corraya, Executive Director of the St. John Vianney Hospital of Tejgaon in Dhaka. Father Kamal says: “We are receiving reports of coronavirus patients. Our medical team provides advice over the phone to people infected with Covid-19, following isolated patients at home”.
The Holy See sent three ventilators to Bangladesh to support the fight against the coronavirus: one was sent to St. John Vinney Hospital, two others were sent to two Catholic hospitals in Dinajpur, and Jessore.
The “invisible enemy” of Covid-19 has also hit Bangladesh: “During this pandemic – notes Director Kamal – St. John Vianney Hospital has done its best to help infected people who suffer. Thanks to the agreements reached with the Health Department of the Government of Bangladesh, our hospital collects samples of coronavirus and sends them for tests to the Institute of Epidemiology, control, and research of diseases. Our doctors keep in touch with Covid-19 positive patients and advise them, motivate them, and provide them with the necessary instructions. It is a great support especially for the poorest. Over the past few months, we have collected samples for hundreds of people and have provided and continue to carry out tests regularly. We are about to open a new operating room which will soon be fully active. Our hospital is open and provides medical care to anyone who requests it”.
Dr. Edwaed Pallab Rozario, a Catholic doctor at St. John Vianney Hospital, tells Fides that “the gift of the Holy See is a blessing and is really precious for the small Christian community in Bangladesh. It is a great help for our hospital. We are grateful to the Pope for his generous gift”. Patients also express gratitude: “When I learned that the Holy Father sent ventilators I felt happiness and hope”, said to Fides Tapu Corraya, a Catholic from Dhaka, who was infected with Covid-19 and recovered.
The hospital has been active since November 2019, when Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, Archbishop of Dhaka, inaugurated it in the presence of the civil and religious authorities. It is located in one of the busiest areas of the city and near the Holy Rosary Catholic Church, which has about 15,000 faithful, including local Catholics and migrants. On April 29, the facility was temporarily closed and all the staff (over 60 employees) were placed in self-quarantine after 22 medical staff tested positive for Covid-19. Subsequently, after the emergency phase, it fully resumed its activity, without serious consequences.
In Bangladesh, the Catholic Church manages 12 hospitals, 78 dispensaries, 6 leper hospitals, 15 assisted residences for the elderly and disabled.