Stand by poor people hit by winter cold03 January 2023
Bangladesh is not a land of cold, yet many people die in the winter season every year not so much by cold as by poverty that forces many people to become prey to cold related diseases without warm clothes and shelter, lack of awareness about the diseases and paucity of medical services, especially in the country's northern areas. Intensity of cold in the division is higher but the government's treatment facilities are not up to the mark as always. This year also there has been a surge in cold-related deaths at this time.
According to a report yesterday, the divisional health office in Rangpur reported a total of 218 cold-related deaths between November 15 and December 31 in the eight districts of the division but the report prepared by the Directorate General of Health Services confirmed only 68 deaths in four of the eight divisions of the country in the past 47 days, excluding the northern divisions. Here is a point, however. If the DGHS fails to keep records of all winter deaths, it will not be possible to completely address the problem.
Older people with different health complications as well as children including the newborn babies are especially vulnerable to the winter time diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and diarrhoea. Cold causes arteries and veins to constrict that can increase blood pressure and rise in cardiac and cerebrovascular diseases. Deaths by strokes occur more in the winter than in summer. Therefore, adequate warm clothes and awareness hold the key to avert the cold related diseases and deaths.
It is a pity that in our society we often notice, for the richer many, winter is a time of wearing costly and smart clothes, but for the poorer people, it is a test for them about how they could manage warm clothes and pass the days of cold. That is why compassion among the richer people for the poorer ones is particularly called for at this time.
Poor people in the northern districts deserve the most attention both from the government and well-off people since they are exposed to the cold north wind day and night. As the worst victims of cold weather are wage earners, they need support of warm clothes during the night time as well as daytime when they work in the field. Moreover, the public health facilities are also needed to be well prepared to deal with cold-related diseases.