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Dhaka Tribune

Med school professors avoid public duties

Update : 31 Aug 2013, 06:46 PM

The senior professors at various public medical college hospitals seem to have forgotten their vows.

There are allegations that most professors are not sincere about their primary duties of serving people in distress and nurturing young minds.

Instead, they remain busy with personal engagements that bring them more money than lecturing at the med schools or treating poor people for free at the public hospitals.

The gross salary of a professor working at a public hospital is in the range of  Tk48,000-Tk58,000 per month.

Patients and students allege that the professors nowadays give most of their attention and time to private engagements with hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centres and chambers which they either own or are somehow associated with.

This deprives many poor patients, who seek free of cost healthcare at the government hospitals, from getting specialised services. Students also are deprived of the chances to learn from their valuable lectures because a doctor becomes professor only through years of studying, extensive research and first hand experiences.

Seeking anonymity, a number of medical students alleged that most professor spent hardly one or two hours in the morning in the public hospitals and the rest of the day in their private establishments. Many of them regularly perform surgeries in private hospital during working hours when they are actually supposed to work in the public hospitals.

Sources said making these professors accountable had become hard because of the dual administration that currently existed in the government hospitals.

The professors, associate professors and the assistant professors are generally in charges of various departments at the public hospitals, while at the same time, they are also officials of the medical colleges because they are teachers as well.

That is why they are accountable to the principals of the medical colleges, not to the directors of those hospitals. As a result, the hospital authorities cannot hold them accountable for not being there during office hours.

According to the existing regulations, all professors must stay in the hospitals from 8:30am to 2:30pm every day except for off days.

But, there are allegations that most professors take hardly one or two classes at the colleges.

Many of them come to their workplaces late and leave early and do not even go on their routine rounds in the hospital wards.

Preferring to be unnamed, a number of high-ranked officials of some public medial college hospitals told the Dhaka Tribune that it had become really hard to find a doctor of the professor rank before 10am and after 12pm.

It especially gets hard on Thursdays and Fridays because many of them go out of Dhaka to attend private chambers.

However, they said there were still many professors who were very sincere about their job.

Professor Dr Rashid E Mahbub, former president of Bangladesh Medical Association, said initially the professors had been made accountable only to the college principals for making their lives easier as academicians.

Prof Mahbub also said time had come to coordinate the work of the doctors who work under the hospital directors and those under the college principals.

“There is a common perception that only the professors can give proper healthcare services. But it is not true. Even if there is no professor, there are other staffs such as the medical officers, intern doctors, registrar, assistant registrars, etc. who remain present at the hospitals all the time,” he said.

He, however, admitted that the professors stay absent with excuses is not an ideal practice.

Prof Dr Khandker Md Sifyetullah, director general of the Directorate General of Health Services, said remaining busy with seminars and training workshops was quite normal for senior doctors and academicians.

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