Thursday, June 20, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

The show must go on

  • ‘It is very important to make a medical protection law’
  • Strikes can never be ethical, says health minister 
  • ‘There is no mention of strikes in the doctors' oath’
Update : 28 Apr 2024, 12:20 AM

It is natural that the language of protest will be strong; that demands will be realized through tough movement. When the demands are not met, the protestors should announce tougher movements to bring the authorities to accepting reality. This is the motto of any protest. But when one takes the oath to serve the people and when one is dealing with the life and death of people—should the language of a movement be the same?

Analysts say that the authorities should also be careful about these issues. It must be ensured that people in emergency services live a healthy life and do not suffer from anxiety. They should not be in a situation where they have to go on a hard line and suspend work. Doctors or those involved in medical services should refrain from taking rash decisions of work abstention, analysts opined. At the same time, they also opined that it is important to determine the due responsibilities of the doctors, patients and medical institutions by formulating an act.

On April 10, an on-duty doctor Raktim Das was badly beaten up at the Patiya General Hospital in Chittagong, for his alleged delay in treating a patient. On April 14, an attack was carried out on Dr Riaz Uddin Shiblu of Chittagong Medical Center Hospital in connection with the death of a patient suffering from pneumonia. In protest, the doctors at the facility observed a work abstention on April 23. At that time, Dr Mujibul Haque Khan, President of Chittagong chapter of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA), said that this program was announced to demand the arrest of those involved in the attacks on the two doctors. He claimed that the program was pre-announced. 

Before that, in March, the post graduate trainees and intern doctors went on a four-day work abstention demanding salary hike and payment of their arrears. 

Brigadier General AFM Shamim Ahmed, director of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, told the media that there has been a manpower crisis due to the strike by interns and trainee doctors of the medical college for several days. But the doctors were serving the patients as usual.

Not only the health minister but many other dignitaries expressed solidarity with the demands of the doctors. But the question remains the same: should interns and trainees observe work abstention to realize their demands?

Prof Dr M Iqbal Arslan, former president of Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad (SWACHIP), said there is no justification for such strike programs.

“We do not support such programs. When there is no other option only then can you go on strike as a last resort. But hundreds of people cannot be made to suffer for one or two people. As the young doctors are influenced by some powerful people—they can change this situation if they want,” he added.

Doctor Lelin Chowdhury, a public health expert, said that such incidents take place as there is no legal binding. The patients get angry and physically assault the doctor. The doctors go on strike. As a result, the innocent patients suffer. He said that it is very important to make a medical protection law, so that the responsibility and rights of all parties are known. 

Health Minister Dr Samanta Lal Sen said: “Strikes can never be ethical. I never want my doctors to go on strikes. I am working to keep them happy.”

However, he said that there is no mention of strikes in the doctors' oath. So there is no real direction in this regard. 

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