Government physicians appointed to rural practices should quit their posts if they do not want to live in their local communities, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said.
The prime minister was addressing a function at her office on Thursday during which the keys to seven new ambulances were handed over to government hospitals and establishments.
“When we are appointing doctors in upazilas, many of them do not want to stay at their workplace and would rather live in Dhaka,” Hasina said.
“If the doctors intend to stay in Dhaka in this way they do not need to do government jobs.”
The premier said if the physicians did not want to serve their local patients in the best possible way, then they could “earn a huge amount of money” by doing private practice in Dhaka.
“It is better for them to resign and go home. We will give fresh appointments in their places,” she said.
The premier said the government was sensitive about the accommodation problems being experienced by government doctors at the grassroots level, and was taking steps to improve the situation.
“I already directed the housing and public works ministry to build multi-storey building in upazilas to solve the housing problems of the government staff, including physicians,” she said.
Hasina also directed the authorities concerned to further improve the standard of education in existing medical colleges across the country, while pledging to build more.
“We have already given permission to establish medical colleges in five cantonments and such colleges will be set up in other cantonments gradually,” she said.
The prime minister said the authorities will have to monitor what type of treatment is being provided from these medical colleges. “They will have to look into whether ‘patient-killing doctors’ or ‘patient-saving doctors’ are being created in these medical colleges,” she said.
She advised medical students to take optimum advantage of countrywide internet services, saying: “It would be fruitful for the medical students if they follow classes and lectures of reputed colleges and universities across the globe through the internet.”
Hasina also raised the possibility of foreign doctors entering Bangladesh to mentor local medical students and advise doctors, who would gain experience through academic interactions.
“The people of the country would not need to go abroad if the foreign specialist doctors come to Bangladesh... they could get foreign treatment here,” she said.
The premier noted that compared to other areas of specialty, there was a shortage in supply of suitable qualified gastroenterologists. She also sought doctors’ active participation in making people aware about the proper method of taking medication.
The seven ambulances handed over on Thursday are part of a consignment of 60 to be handed over this month, which were procured at a cost of Tk41 lakh from the revenue budget of the Health Services Division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to further improve health services.
An additional 38 of the Toyota brand ambulances will be handed over next month.
In the formal handover ceremony, Hasina presented seven dummy keys to representatives from Bandaran Sadar Hospital and the National Institution of Cardiovascular Diseases in Dhaka, and to upazila health complexes in Tungipara, Gopalganj; Rajibpir, Kurigram; Fultala, Khulna; Kendua, Netrakona, and Kaliakoir in Gazipur.
The prime minister also placed an emphasis on introducing river ambulance services in island and haor regions and asked the Health Ministry to create a fund to this end during formulation of the ministry annual budget.
Health Minister Mohammad Nasim and State Minister for Health Zahid Maleque Swapan also spoke on the occasion.