Bills are yet to be paid from the allocated Tk20 crore
Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) Director Brig Gen AKM Nasir Uddin has said the news published in various media outlets regarding Tk20 crore spent on food bills of doctors and nurses, is completely false, baseless, and fabricated.
"The bill was not for foods only, rather it included hotel accommodation costs and transportation of the medical professionals who have been providing Covid-19 healthcare. Most of the money went to pay for the hotel rent. Food cost per person is Tk500 daily," he said during a press briefing at the DMCH conference room on Wednesday.
On Monday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also spoke about the matter. She said the matter would be investigated.
“Since May 2, we have been providing Covid-19 treatment at the Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit at DMCH and from May 16, we also started treating Covid-19 patients at the General Medicine department of the hospital’s main building.
“These two places together have 820 to 850 bed capacities and at the moment we have around 700 Covid-19 infected patients in these 2 units,” the DMCH director said.
"Around 103 of our doctors, 287 nurses, 21 grade three employees, 46 of our grade four employees and 10 of our Ansar members have already been affected by the coronavirus.
“So, keeping in mind the issue of corona infection, the health workers are being kept at different hotels in accordance with the highest safety and hygiene rules,” he added.
Brig Gen Nasir also said: “We have rented 30 hotels and our doctors, nurses, staff members, technicians, Ansar members, and security guards are all staying there for almost three weeks. So far, a total of 3,688 members have had to stay in the hotel, where the food cost is Tk500 per person.
"We have hired 11 microbuses, one AC tour coach, and two buses. The hospital staffers are being brought and taken three times a day with these transports.
“The ministry asked us how much it would cost to bear two months of expenses. Then they calculated that it could cost around Tk20 crore in two months.
“According to the account, we were given the Tk20 crore allocation, where the hotel rent is Tk12.80 crore, the food bill is around Tk5.5 crore and transport bill is around Tk1.60 crore,” he further said.
“We have already received bills for 2,276 health workers’ accommodation and food with VAT which amounts to Tk 13,64,25,937.
“Besides, around Tk 1 crore has been spent in the last two months for transportation. We estimated the cost to be around Tk26 crore. So we wanted a budget of Tk20 crore after calculating the first month’s cost,” the DMCH director said.
No bills paid from the allocated Tk20cr
“No bills have been paid yet, of the ones placed by the hotel authorities, from the allocated Tk20 crore till now,” the DMCH director added.
Nasir said Railway General Hospital has been attached to DMCH as a Covid-19 Hospital. On the other hand, in the current situation, as per the instructions of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, DMCH has been given the responsibility to conduct medical activities at Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery from June 27.
As a result, the medical activities of the Covid-19 patients under this hospital further expanded and additional doctors, nurses, staff members, and Ansar men will be required to be on duty, he added.
He also said: “We were asked to give our explanation on how we are spending the money, and in which sector and for what purpose and w have give our explanation, already”
Expressing dissatisfaction, Professor Billal Alam, who was present at the press conference, said: “It is very sad to see such misinformation on the news that we doctors ate food worth Tk20 crore, and a banana cost Tk1,000. The medical community has been humiliated for such comments. The matter is very sad.
“If there is corruption in the health sector, it must be investigated. We do not want to stay in a hotel on purpose. If we had the opportunity to stay at home in isolation or stay in the hospital, we would,” he added.
The hospital director said: “DMCH is a one of the largest institutions in Bangladesh and all our members are working while risking their lives amidst this coronavirus pandemic. Such comments are not desirable at times like this.
“We strongly condemn and protest against such odious propaganda.”
210 patients die with Covid-19 in DMCH till date
The DMCH director said that 210 people have died from Covid-19 infection in DMCH from May 2 to till date.
He wished peace for the departed souls.
He also said around 3,904 patients were admitted to DMCH coronavirus unit till date. Among them, 1,589 patients were Covid-19 positive, and 1,580 of them recovered which is 88.27%. He also said the death rate is 12.59%.