New mothers with their newborns are currently accommodated on floors because hospital has run out of beds, says hospital senior supervisor
In recent times, the shortage of hospital beds and the absence of intensive care units at Nilphamari General Hospital have become major obstacles to treating the rising number of patients suffering from cold-related illnesses in the district.
For a long time, the hospital has been below capacity and incapable of providing modern medical services to patients.
The original 50-bed hospital was built on 7.5 acres in 1985, and was later upgraded to 100 beds.
In 2011, the Public Works Department gave administrative approval for the construction of an eight-storey building at a cost of Tk30.5 crore. However, when the department later allocated Tk30.3 crore, the building was constructed up to six storeys.
As a result, necessary bedding as well as cabin and ICU facilities could not be installed.
According to the district health department, it is not possible to make the shift to the new building at the moment as the new eight-storey building is yet incomplete and the manpower crisis still exists.
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Kalpana Rani Das, senior supervisor of the hospital, said: “Once the 250-bed hospital is made fully operational, there will be no shortage of beds for patients. Patients, including new mothers with their newborns, are currently accommodated on floors because we have run out of beds.”
This 250-bed hospital requires 290 staffers (consisting of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th class employees), but currently there are 135 staffers working at the hospital, which leaves 155 posts vacant, said Mezbahul Hasan Chowdhury, assistant director (caretaker) of the hospital.
Of the vacancies, 48 posts are of first-class employees, which include nine senior consultants, and 11 junior consultants. The posts of resident medical officer, resident physician, resident specialist, registrar, assistant registrar, and assistant surgeon are also vacant. Besides, the posts of third-class medical technician, radiography and cardiography have remained vacant for a long time.
Dr Golam Morshed, ophthalmologist of the hospital, said: “I have been using a faulty ophthalmic operating microscope which finally gave out this Tuesday. Therefore, all ophthalmic surgical procedures have been suspended. I don’t know when the machine will be repaired.”
“If the 250-bed hospital is made fully operational, Nilphamari Medical College students will be able to take practical lessons right here in the district without having to go elsewhere. Apart from this, local patients will get all the necessary medical services,” said Mezbahul, the hospital caretaker.
Regarding the installation of ICU facilities, he said: “Before installing ICU beds, we must ensure modern medical services which entail nurses, cardiac monitors, central oxygen, medical officers and consultants available for each bed.”
When contacted, Nilphamari Civil Surgeon Jahangir Kabir said the central oxygen supply system in the Nilphamari General hospital was almost ready. He hoped that patients would soon be able to get high flow nasal cannula therapy at the hospital.
Meanwhile, Public Works Department Executive Engineer Md Touhiduzzaman said: “Even though the department initially had given administrative approval for the eight-storey building, the new building was constructed up to six storeys.
“However, fresh funds have been allocated in response to the health department’s request and the construction of the remaining two floors will begin soon.”