April 19, 2024, 2:01 am

Mushroom growth of illegal hospitals big challenge for public health

  • Update Time : Thursday, October 8, 2020
  • 243 Time View

Futurebd Desk:

Mushroom growth of illegal hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centers on the top of concerned authorities’ nose has now become cause of hotchpotch situation of the country’s health sector, experts said.

Over two-third hospitals and clinics of the country are still running brisk businesses without license and legal approval after managing some unscrupulous officials of the concerned Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

As a result, a hotchpotch situation has been created in the health sector that hampers health services drastically during the corona pandemic. Country’s people are being deprived of proper health services even after moving from door to door of different hospitals or clinics. The health service seekers especially both the COVID and non-COVID are being harassed by the unauthorized hospitals and clinics’ authorities in different ways. But, the sufferers are not getting remedy even after filing several complaints as a powerful syndicate of the Health Department and concerned ministry is playing vital role on behalf of the hospitals and clinics’ authorities staying behind the screen. They are doing so in exchange of hansom amount of bribes, sources claimed.

Experts said, huge corruptions, anomalies and mismanagement of DGHS are the main reasons behind the current unstable situation of the health sector. Culprits like Md Shahed alias Shahed Kabir, Sabrina Arif Chowdhury and Arif Chowdhury are also creation of the DGHS.

“If the health department would act properly, such situation was not created at all, they opined.

According to the DGHS sources, there are around 17,244 non-government hospitals and clinics in the country. Of them, only 5000 institutes have been renewed their license, while rests are running without legal license or approval.

Many illegal hospitals and clinics are running just after submitting application for approval or license. Thus the hospitals and clinics are running businesses in the name of health services for year after year due to lack of proper monitoring by the authorities concerned of the DGHS.

A reliable source of DGHS said, all private hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centers in the country are being operated under the supervision of an assistant director and two medical officers. Most of the illegal hospitals and clinics run with their patronization. The whole activities of license renewal have come to a standstill since the digital license renewal process began.

To avert the responsibility, the DGHS claimed that, the private clinics and diagnostic centers are operated under the Medical Practice and Private Clinics and Laboratories (Regulation) Ordinance-19820. Basically, the DGHS has nothing to do except issuing notices and publishing advertisements on the newspapers to know about expired institutions.

Aminul Hasan, Director of the Hospital and Clinic branch of the DGHS said, “The DGHS has started the process of digitizing the license renewal activities since 2018. After starting the process, highest 5,000 private clinics and diagnostic centers have renewed their licenses. The rests are yet to come to renew their licenses.”

He said, “Clearance certificates of Environment Department, details of the staffs and employees, clearance of City Corporation, tax certificate and other documents are required for renewal of the licenses of clinics and diagnostic centers every year. The hospitals and clinics authorities don’t want to renew the license as they can’t provide the required documents.”

Kazi Deen Mohammad Nurul Haque, former Director General of the DGHS said, “Renewal and approval of hospitals’ licenses are routine work of the health department. The investigation team will inspect the hospital and give a report according to which the Department of Health will decide whether to approve or not. The condition for approving each hospital is to renew the license every year.”

“It is not possible to supervise all the private hospitals, clinic and diagnostic centers in the country with one assistant director and two medical officers. With such a small manpower, it is never possible to get the expected results. So, the government should expand the manpower,” he added.

“I think there is no alternative except turning the hospital branch into a full-fledged department to eliminate irregularities, corruption and chaos. When the ordinance was issued in 1972, there were only two hospitals in Dhaka city. Due to this ordinance, the owners of many dishonest private clinics are now taking advantage of the situation,” he further said.

According to the list given on the website of Bangladesh Private Clinic and Diagnostic Owners Association, there is also a discrepancy in the list of all legal private hospitals in the country. There are 2,761 private clinics and 4,704 diagnostic centers in the country.

Prof. Dr. Moniruzzaman Bhuiyan, President of Bangladesh Private Clinic and Diagnostic Center Association said, “Numerous clinics have sprung up across the country. These clinics don’t have environmental or City Corporation clearance.

The DGHS decided to digitize the license renewal process from 2018. Aspirants have to go to the website and submit the application by attaching the required documents. The officials of DGHS will inspect the applicant institution after checking and sorting the documents. If everything is okayed, the license and term will be approved and extended.”

The validity of Regent Hospital’s license was expired in 2014. However, DGHS signed an agreement with the hospital violating rules and regulations. The matter came to light, while RAB conducted a drive at the hospital recently. Since then, discussions and criticisms have been going on about the license issue of all private hospitals and clinics.

It is to be mentioned that, a mobile court of RAB raided the Uttara branch of the Regent Hospital on July 7 and recovered fake corona test certificates. The RAB then raided the Shahabuddin Medical College Hospital in Gulshan. During the drive, RAB found expired surgical materials and banned drugs. In addition, RAB recovered unauthorized kits and fake corona test certificates from the spot. The hospital authorities had been carrying out swindling business even after corona pandemic. The horrific feature of fraud in the name of medical services came out during the operations of the law enforcement agencies. Centering the issue, a blame game was started between the Health Ministry and DGHS in a bid to avoid the responsibility.

Former Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and former President of Bangladesh Medical Association Prof. Dr. Rashid E Mahboob said, “This situation of the health system in the country was not created in a day. This responsibility cannot be avoided by DGHS and Health Ministry as an authority can never deny it. They are now engaged in the blame game. To prevent the coronavirus epidemic, the problem should be resolved through proper coordination by eliminating mudslinging.”

“Necessary action should take against the expired hospitals and clinics to restore the country’s images,” he added. (Source: Online)

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