• Friday, Oct 18, 2019
  • Last Update : 01:43 am

Is there a doctor in the house?

  • Published at 12:00 am January 23rd, 2019
Doctor
Photo: BIGSTOCK

It is the sorry state of our public health care which forces people to go to private hospitals or even seek expensive medical treatment in foreign shores

In Bangladesh, public hospitals are the only option available for the vast majority of the population.

Sadly, the quality and standard of our public health sector leaves much to be desired, and that includes the availability of doctors at their stations.

The Anti-Corruption Commission recently conducted a drive in 11 government hospitals and health centres in the country, and have found 40% of all doctors to be absent from their respective workplaces.

Those seeking service from public hospitals find themselves subject to much harassment, and sometimes have to resort to giving bribes to employees -- in fact, the ACC caught an employee red-handed in the course of the drive.

Clearly, there is dereliction of duty at all levels in the public health sector, because employees are drawing their full salaries while not being available when needed -- many doctors have no qualms about getting paid by public hospitals while engaging in private practice. 

Doctors take care of the sick, so being absent when they are needed, simply on an ethical level, is gross negligence bordering on criminal, and there are countless reports of patients dying because of a lack of doctors.

It is the sorry state of our public health care which forces people to go to private hospitals or even seek expensive medical treatment in foreign shores.

“First, do no harm,” says the Hippocratic Oath, and it seems that doctors are failing to live by those words, and giving our public hospitals a bad name.

It is time for the government to get tough on public officials in health care who turn their back on their duty.