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Is there a doctor in the house?

  • Published at 12:03 am July 22nd, 2019
Hospital, patients waiting for doctors
Photo: MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

When it comes to the distribution of doctors, places outside of Dhaka remain under-served

For a country with hopes of middle-income status and wishing to provide the best quality of life to its citizens, a robust health care is unquestionably essential.


Unfortunately, despite our economic progress and achievements in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, we have fallen behind in this regard, failing our citizens in providing them with the best health care possible.


It is a shame that, even regionally, we fall woefully behind, with the nurse and doctor to patient ratio -- which currently stands at 5.26 doctors and 3.06 nurses for every 10,000 patients -- being the second lowest in South Asia.


This poor state of affairs compared to our neighbours -- both India and Sri Lanka, for example, have a ratio above 20 -- should serve as a wake-up call for the nation to prioritize the health care sector as needing urgent attention.


In fact, complaints of delays and inability to secure appointments remain ever-present amongst patient testimonials at public hospitals, with this being a major reason for many people seeking health care services abroad, even if it means that it is beyond their means.


The overall situation is further worsened by the fact that, when it comes to the distribution of doctors nationwide, places outside of Dhaka remain under-served, with most positions being vacant and many doctors failing to show up during their consultation hours.


Not only must our entire health care sector be decentralized to ensure an equal distribution of health care facilities throughout the country, the quality of service we provide must also be improved.


This means recruiting more doctors and nurses, and prioritizing health care through investment and incentivization.