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Dhaka Tribune

Digital attendance to be introduced for doctors

Update : 07 May 2014, 07:51 PM

As doctors continue to ignore repeated directives from the prime minister and choosing to stay absent at their workplaces, the health directorate has been asked to introduce a digital attendance system to ensure the presence of doctors.

A letter was recently sent from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), asking authorities concerned to introduce the measure.

The letter, signed by PMO Director Dr Md Zulfiqur Ali on April 20, also asked the DGHS to send a report regarding the measures it had taken.

The letter also read that PMO Director General Paban Chowdhury found only one doctor present during a visit to the Rangunia upazila health complex on April 12; even though the attendance sheet contained the signatures of all the doctors.

Zulfiqur, in the letter, also said the government was being criticised as doctors remained absent at their workplaces, despite efforts to ensure health services to the grassroots level.

There are reportedly over a 100 different committees, including 62 within the Health Ministry, to monitor and supervise the present of the doctors and reach healthcare services to people’s doorsteps.

However, seeking anonymity, several senior officials of the health sector said only a handful of those committees were functional. As soon as someone was assigned to a workplace, influential people start sending in recommendations and create pressure to cancel the transfer orders, they added.

Although a small number of doctors join their assigned workplaces, they are soon transferred in the name of deputation or attachment to other suitable locations.

After the new government came into office, Health Minister Mohammed Nasim expressed his determination to show zero tolerance regarding the absence of doctors at health facilities. However, little progress has been made in this regard.

When asked about the letter from the PMO, DGHS Director (administration) Dr Md Shah Newaz said necessary measures would be taken to carry out the directive, adding that the divisional directors had shown no interest in monitoring and supervising healthcare services under their respective areas, despite repeated directives from the DGHS.

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