Authorities ask private hospitals to renew permission, form teams for inspection
The government has instructed all private hospitals treating Covid-19 patients across the country to seek or renew their permission to continue treatment in a bid to keep a proper record of the proceedings.
According to officials concerned, the health authorities are facing difficulties in keeping track of the numbers of Covid-19 patients and deaths due to failure of the private hospitals in providing information in time.
Sources in the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) team tasked with summing up the daily Covid data said that they often had to update the number of fatalities at a later date with old data as many private hospitals do not provide reports in a timely manner.
Many people are going to the designated private hospitals as the number of infections has been on the rise and due to bed crisis at government hospitals since March.
Slow response from many hospitals
On April 5, the DGHS held an internal meeting on Covid-19 treatment in private hospitals.
They found that only nine private hospitals in Dhaka and three in Chittagong division – out of 58 across Bangladesh – had been sending all necessary data to the DGHS in time.
The hospitals in Dhaka are Anwer Khan Modern Hospital, Asgar Ali Hospital, Square Hospital, Ibn Sina Hospital, United Hospital, Evercare Hospital, Impulse Hospital, AMZ Hospital and Bangladesh Specialized Hospital.
The DGHS also received information that several private hospitals had been charging exorbitant rates, compared to some upscale hospitals.
Following the meeting, the DGHS instructed all private hospitals to seek permission if they wanted to keep providing medical care to Covid patients.
The DGHS-approved hospitals will have to renew their permission while the 25 unlisted hospitals operating outside Dhaka have to acquire fresh permission.
The meeting also planned to form a committee to assess the quality of services delivered and the fees charged by the private hospitals, and to launch a hotline to receive complaints about their irregularities.
According to the Hospitals and Clinics Section of the DGHS, at least 31 private hospitals in Dhaka and 15 in Chittagong are treating Covid patients.
Moreover, there are eight such hospitals in Sylhet division, and four in Khulna, Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions.
As many as 21 of these private hospitals started Covid treatment in Dhaka after April 10, and among them, seven hospitals did not turn in their daily reports by the time the DGHS press release is issued every day.
Officials at the Hospitals and Clinics Unit said that some hospitals were not enlisted as they had submitted applications informally.
The DGHS has asked the hospitals to submit a summary of the facilities they provide, including the numbers of ICUs and HDUs, high-flow nasal cannulas, oxygen concentrators and other oxygen supplying systems, beds and staff.
Two three-member teams were formed to visit the private hospitals in Dhaka ahead of Pohela Boishakh on April 14.
Talking about the lack of information in the daily press releases, DGHS chief Prof ABM Khurshid Alam on Wednesday said that they had already taken necessary measures to bring the healthcare facilities under surveillance.
“We are in the process of updating the data by creating a new Covid-19 dashboard to grasp the real situation.”
Dr Shah Mohammad Jashim Uddin, deputy director of the Management Information System unit of the DGHS, said: “We have already started to gather information … everything will be under our database very soon.”
They were working to develop a real-time process so that the DGHS can accumulate accurate instantaneous data on the situation across the country, he added.
DGHS Director (Hospital) Dr Md Farid Hossain Miah yesterday said that they had received favourable responses after issuing the directives on permission.
He was hopeful that the renewal process would be completed by tomorrow.