Unauthorised hospitals are still at large

13 November 2020

THE Health Directorate has asked civil surgeons to ensure that all unauthorised private hospitals, clinics, and diagnostic centres are shut down as soon as possible. The order comes at a time when nearly 3,000 private healthcare establishments have failed to apply online for licences within the August 23 deadline. Nearly 13,000 such organisations applied online for licences within the deadline and nearly 2,800 others did not apply. Without developing a country's healthcare system, how a country becomes 'development surprise'. The large conglomerates and government must focus on moulding the country's healthcare system affordable and competent.
In August, Health Ministry said all private medical colleges, hospitals and clinics must apply for licences -- either to renew them or get new ones. The announcement came after the much-talked-about Regent Hospital scam involving Covid-19 tests came to light during the first week of July. The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has issued licences to 6,067 private healthcare establishments. With the surge of Covid-19 infection rate and possible second wave of pandemic, the healthcare system is still lag in dilapidated condition. Politicians, bureaucrats, government high-ups, business leaders all are dependent on posh private hospitals or hospitals in developed countries.
It is essential for our government to take some radical steps now to resuscitate the catastrophic healthcare system of our country. At present, we are at the mercy of private healthcare and it needs to change and stringent laws need to be implemented to regulate these hospitals. The first step the government can consider is ensuring accountability. Secondly, fixing unethical practices within the system, such as the interaction of pharmaceutical companies and physicians, which is very prominent. Pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh spend over Tk 6,000 crore on marketing every year, and a major chunk of this is utilised as gifts for physicians who prescribe their medicine. Regulators have to look into such malpractices that are rife in our system. Nonetheless, "corruption" remains the iceberg of our sinking healthcare system. If steps are not taken to eradicate or even reduce corruption, we will end up at the point of irreparable damage.

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