Endangering the lives of doctors and citizens through such blatant acts of corruption must not go unpunished
Bangladesh is already struggling to contain the spread of the coronavirus. At such a difficult time, everyone in the country -- with the responsibility disproportionately on experts in the field -- is expected to do their part to help avert the crisis. Unfortunately, this has been far from what has happened.
Accusations against officials and employees of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), and Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD) have continued to be brought to light during the pandemic, and now, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has interrogated the former director general of DGHS Prof Abul Kalam Azad over the irregularities and the misappropriation of money.
While it is good to see that the ACC is stepping in to get to the bottom of this issue, it remains extremely disappointing that such blatant irregularities and misappropriations -- through procuring low-quality masks, PPE, and other essential medical equipment -- were allowed to occur in the first place.
It is imperative that those found guilty of using this hapless situation in our country to fuel their greed are punished to the fullest extent of the law. Endangering the lives of doctors and citizens through such blatant acts of corruption must not go unpunished.
However, the authorities must also do a better job of monitoring those who have been tasked to serve the nation during this dire time. Whether that be unlicensed hospitals cheating the patients with exorbitant bills and sub-standard treatment, health agencies conducting fake testing, or organizations providing substandard masks, PPE, and medical equipment, there should be no scope for anyone to engage in such forms of nefarious activities.
Bangladesh already has many challenges to overcome, and continued corruption in the health sector will prove to be extremely fatal, and make our challenges that much more difficult to overcome.