Dues yet to be paid by Health Ministry; doctors, nurses have not received stimulus packages
The Covid-19 dedicated hospital set up by the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) last year has been inactive for more than 5 months, even amid the alarming rise in the infections and deaths in the city.
When asked, hospital authorities said the hospital stopped its operations as the Ministry of Health did not clear the dues for the previous year, reports Bangla Tribune.
Even the doctors and nurses who worked there have yet to receive their promised stimulus package.
At the same time, the hospital also lacks in equipment and machinery needed, they said.
The 150-bed hospital is run by DSCC’s health department.
When the pandemic broke out last year, the 150-bed Dhaka Mohanagar General Hospital, situated at the foot of Old Dhaka’s Babubazar Bridge and run by DSCC health department, was turned into Covid-19 dedicated hospital.
About 100 beds of the hospital were prepared to treat Covid-19 patients, and to facilitate that, all other medical facilities at the hospital were discontinued.
On March 25, 2020, the then DSCC mayor Sayeed Khokon inaugurated an outdoor service for Covid-19 patients and the hospital’s Indoor Infection Department was inaugurated on April 8, 2020.
During its operation, some 498 patients recovered after being treated at the hospital. The outdoor unit gave medical treatment to more than 5,500 patients.
Asked why the hospital could not resume treatment of Covid-19 patients, duty doctors said they did not receive the stimulus package promised by the government.
At the same time, a Covid-19 hospital requires Tk2crore to run, which the Health Ministry has not cleared fully, they said.
The DSCC informed the ministry that the hospital would not resume its Covid-19 treatment facilities this year until the previous dues were not cleared.
The hospital authorities said that last year, they received good results from treatments without the need of ICUs (Intensive Care Units) and oxygen supply.
This year, the hospital has readied five ventilators and 15 high-flow oxygen beds. At the same time, there will also be 10 additional high-flow oxygen beds in the general ward.
“Currently, our hospital is not treating Covid-19 patients. But, the ministry has directed us to be ready. For this, an oxygen plant and ICUs need to be provided. We are now working to install these facilities,” Dr Prakash Chandra Ray, director of Dhaka Mohanagar General Hospital, told Bangla Tribune.
“We have already placed our demands before the ministry. Although we were supplied with doctors and nurses last year, this year we have not received any from the ministry. To run a Covid-19 dedicated hospital, adequate number of law enforcement members are needed, machineries and equipment are needed,” he said.
“Last year, we could provide treatment at a very low cost. The recovery rate of our patients was much better compared to other hospitals. But our bills have not been cleared yet. The ministry has yet to pay Tk72 lakh to the hospital. The doctors did not get their stimulus package.”
It was learnt that in order to resume activities of a Covid-dedicated hospital, the hospital has placed a requisition for 56 doctors and 60 nurses. Of them, 40 doctors and 40 nurses will be stationed at the general ward, while 16 doctors and 20 nurses would be stationed at the ICUs.
Apart from that, the hospital also needs technologists, ward boys and cleaners.
“This year, 5 ventilators have been installed. However, Covid-19 patients do not need ventilators that much. What is needed is high-flow oxygen beds. We are trying to install some 30 such beds altogether. Of them, 12 will be placed in a separate ward with air conditioning. The rest will be placed in cabins and general wards,” Dr Prakash Chandra Ray added.