Soon after the circular was issued, physicians and other staff across the country demanded the resignation of both the health secretary and the director general of health services
Ashadul Islam, secretary of the Health Services Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has apologised to doctors of different government hospitals for an inappropriate order issued by him recently.
In the circular issued on Wednesday, the ministry had directed all hospital staff to admit new patients and take necessary steps to provide emergency treatment to each of the patients.
In the same circular, the general public were asked to inform the nearest police station or army check-post if any hospital staff refused to admit any patient.
It also warned that the licenses or registration of the persons responsible would be revoked if such incidents occurred.
Soon after the circular was issued, physicians and other staff across the country demanded the resignation of both the health secretary and the director general of health services.
At the same time, the BCS Health Cadre Association let loose with an intense counterblast over the circular, saying: “The DGHS (directorate general of health services) were requested to provide personal protection equipment for the doctors who were assigned to provide treatment to coronavirus patients. But the inexperienced and unskilled bureaucrats of the Health Ministry were not able to realize the horrific situation arising out of the pandemic coronavirus (covid-19). For this reason, one observes serious mismanagement, including lack of personal protection equipment for the health service providers.”
The president of the association, Dr A M Selim Reza, told Dhaka Tribune that the circular was too disrespectful. “We have even prepared a mass resignation letter.”
The authorities said that they had supplied 285,000 personal protective equipment. “Where is the equipment? We did not receive any. The equipment which were supposed to be worn by the hospital staff, are being used by the admin people, which is inappropriate,” he said.
In light of the controversy, the ministry issued a new circular, revoking its earlier order.
The chief administrator of Bangladesh Doctors' Foundation's, Dr Nirupom Das, said: “Such disgraceful directives hurt an entire society. Doctors are fighting against Covid-19 from the front. We deeply condemn the motive behind the canceled circular.”
As soon as possible the government should provide PPEs to health service providers, he added.
Meanwhile, in a joint statement, Gana Sanghati Andolan Chief Coordinator Junaid Saki and acting coordinator of the coordination council Abul Hasan Rubel expressed concerns over the government's initiatives to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.
In the statement issued on Friday, they expressed their grave worries over the supply of an inadequate number of PPEs to hospital staff across the country.
"Doctors are our front line fighters. We cannot win this war if we cannot protect them," they said.