Swapna Akhtar, a young apparel worker and victim of the Savar Tragedy just keeps staring at the sky hour after hour through the window from her hospital bed at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. “She doesn’t want to eat any food; nor does she want to speak to anybody. She just constantly stares at the sky,” her mother-in-law Ankura Begum said of the 21-year-old now being treated at the Neurology Department of the DMCH.
Hailed from the Charbaggha village of Noakhali district, Swapna Akhtar used to work as a garment worker in one of the apparel factories housed in Rana Plaza. She was rescued from the rubble of the collapsed building three days after the terrible accident.
When an Independent correspondent visited her at the hospital on Wednesday, she appeared to be a kind of still girl with no feeling or sensation. She was not eating, not talking and kept looking just blankly at the open sky through the window.
Swapna’s mother-in-law and other members of her family suspect she has lost her memory as she hasn’t been able to recognize anybody yet since the Savar Tragedy. However, Dr. Rafique of the Neurology Department at the DMCH is hopeful about Swapna’s
Swapna suffered a serious injury in her head. She was brought to the hospital in senseless condition. She remained without any sense for as long as five straight days and then she regained her consciousness. “She is responding to treatment and expected to recover gradually,” her physician said. Swapna is not alone who is still fighting to return to her normal life after being rescued from the rubble of the Rana Plaza. Twenty one-year-old Rozina Begum, another garment worker, has been screaming intermittently since she was admitted to the same hospital about three weeks ago.
Rozina barely sleeps and keeps screaming in short intervals from her hospital bed. “Whenever she closes her eyes, she hears voices of her co-workers crying for help to save their lives,” her husband Saju Ahmed, 30, from Narail, Jessore, quoted her as saying.
Three weeks after the fatal collapse of Rana Plaza, heavily traumatized Rozina, who was admitted to the Orthopedic Department of DMCH with broken spinal cord, still feels quite often that a huge building is coming down on them and being stuck in the middle of the debris they are crying for help, her husband said.
Like Swapna and Rozina, hundreds of Savar victims are now receiving treatment at various hospitals of the capital city, some with deep trauma and many with crippling wounds. Psychiatrists expressed their worries about the conditions of many patients and strongly stressed the need for long-term counseling for them.
Sister Gloria, a professional psychiatrist and counselor of Carlotta Centre said psychological counseling for the Savar victims is extremely important. Apparently after receiving treatment they would seem like they are OK but physical treatment is not good enough. “Their mental scars are more serious,” she added. Brigadier Mostafizur Rahman, director of DMCH said they have already arranged counseling for some of the Savar victims. Seven patients who are seriously mentally sick have been singled out for counseling by professional counselors and clinical psychiatrists from Dhaka University.
-With The Independent input