ABSTRACT

The world has experienced unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The present study is designed to explore the strategies taken by the Bangladesh government and other countries to manage this pandemic. The study observed that several factors like government initiatives, soundness of medical centers, capacity, and preparedness, past experiences, economy, technological support, demographic structure, culture, social sentiment, attitude towards safety measures, and sensitivity to obey instructions, etc. are responsible for the successfully prevent and mitigate pandemic in Bangladesh and other countries. It was revealed that different countries responded COVID-19 pandemic differently. Bangladesh’s government did not strictly follow draconian policy as most of the people need to work for livelihood. Several national programs were postponed to avoid mass gatherings. But during the lockdown, people enjoyed it as a public holiday. Again, people’s attitude toward using safety measures was not satisfactory. There had an inadequacy of dedicated hospitals, tracing facilities, and PPE but telemedicine programs played a significant role. Based on analyzing the current status of health, the economy, and people’s attitudes, it is recommended that the government of Bangladesh should be proactive in taking preventive measures for managing pandemics. Again, pandemic management capabilities such as health- facilities, dedicated doctors and staff, related testing facilities, people’s knowledge of the pandemic, and incentives need to be increased.

Key words: Pandemic, Covid-19, strategic management, experience, Bangladesh.

Introduction

Biological disasters have the potentiality to harm living biota in the world and about 13% of disasters are associated with biological origin (Gunasekera, 2010, Guha Sapir et al., 2014).  From the beginning of 21st century people all over the world have been fighting against different infectious disasters/pandemics. These are Chikungunia, Cholera, MERS-CoV, SARS, Avian Influenza, Plague, Nipah virus, Influenza, Ebola, Smallpox, Zika virus, Dengue, etc. These viral infections are very much contagious and can easily spread from animal to human or human to human. In the year 2020, there is no nation found on the earth that is not experiencing the challenges of COVID-19. On January 7, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) named this virus the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (Tan et al., 2020). Subsequently, the WHO declared COVID-19 as a pandemic on 11 March 2020 (WHO, 2020). The large-scale pandemic crisis caused by COVID-19 has already had a significant impact on economic sectors, social behavior, cultural practices, population dynamics, politics and governance, and important public health. Throughout the world, people have experienced unprecedented challenges due to this global pandemic. Having limitations (lack of antiviral drug or agent) some countries become successful and some were unsuccessful. It is important to know the exact story of a different country. Bangladesh is surrounded by India mostly in the East, West, and in South East by Myanmar. Bangladesh’s government regularly struggles with its huge population density especially in its capital city Dhaka (4600/km2). A larger portion of Bangladeshi people are poor and they have faced different health-related problems due to socio-economic disparities. In past Bangladesh also faced several pandemics. Again, Bangladesh has taken several initiatives to combat COVID-19. The effectiveness and ineffectiveness of these strategies will help make policy to combat another new wave or another upcoming pandemic. Therefore, the objectives of this study are to provide an overview of the deadly epidemic’s experiences of Bangladesh. This study also found the strategies taken by different countries and discussed critically their success and failure stories which will further identify the areas for improvement to combat future pandemics.