The Regent Hospital fiasco should shake up our political and social hierarchy
The recent Regent Hospital scandal has unearthed shocking irregularities and mismanagement of the health care system of Bangladesh.
It has not only brought to light that Regent Hospital, which was supposed to provide free treatment to Covid-19 patients, did not offer such service and instead charged a humongous amount of money to conduct tests, but also issued fake Covid-19 test reports to approximately 6,000 patients amid the ongoing pandemic.
Such unethical behaviour tarnishes our image on the global platform.
As we are already aware, the Italian Ministry of Health has announced a ban on fights from Bangladesh until October 5, 2020. The decision was made after 21 passengers from Bangladesh tested positive for Covid-19 upon landing in Rome and Milan respectively on July 6.
It is a known fact that the pandemic crisis has increased financial pressure on our businesses and economy but such a criminal act from an established health care provider at such a challenging time is completely indefensible.
What is more alarming is that Regent Hospital authorities were permitted to test coronavirus patients but the hospital did not even renew its license since 2014. An investigation has also exposed that they had no machines in their lab and reports were issued without conducting actual tests.
Another startling reality is that although the health minister and other government officials were present during the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Regent Hospital, now the health ministry is questioning the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) about why the contract was signed as the hospital did not renew its license despite several reminders.
This entire fiasco will eventually haunt us in the coming days because now we simply do not know who is or is not a real Covid-19 patient.
It is not a good enough excuse that the paperwork of Regent Hospital was not scrutinized properly given lack of adequate time which would have obviously detected that the hospital did not have a valid license.
According to statistics generated by Worldometers, Bangladesh saw a total of 2,738 new Covid-19 cases on July 5. This figure increased to 3,489 cases on July 8. So, we also cannot brush it under the carpet that the number of new patients suffering from coronavirus is still on the rise in our country.
If we ask anyone what is the purpose of having a business, the answer we would receive most likely is to make money. But should that be the sole purpose of running a business?
We must develop the mentality to consider the implications of running businesses on our entire community.
A business demands human interaction which requires us to be a part of our community and society. So, no matter what we do to earn a living, we must think and act for the overall benefit of our community because it is also the place where we belong.
Money is obviously important, as it helps us lead a decent life but we must not be so blinded by greed that we harm our own families, friends, and neighbours, who are also a part of this community, in the process of making money unethically.
Warren Buffet has rightly stated: “Look for three qualities in a person -- intelligence, energy, and integrity. If they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two.” Without integrity, no entity can be a success and no one is trustworthy.
This negligence that we have witnessed in our health care system clearly demonstrates how badly we lack integrity. Bangladeshis, all over the world, have worked hard to reach where they are today but at present, we are losing face because our knowledge without integrity has proven to be dreadful for us.
If this scandalous episode does not shake things up within our political and social hierarchy, we do not know what will.
Being dishonest and trying to find a shortcut way to make money without caring for future consequences can perhaps bring some success, but ultimately it will lead to a huge disaster because truth can never be hidden in this era of high-transparency, and when the truth comes out, people will never stand by an untrustworthy entity no matter how successful it is.
Long-term success requires trust from people and that means we need to be honest and have integrity. Without these attributes, respect cannot be attained. We must not be selfish and act only for our personal gain.
It also must not be forgotten that power is not allocated for misusing it. We are dealing with people’s lives here; acting like school children, blaming each other for poor decision-making do not create a positive image before the rest of the world.
Therefore, our businesses in all sectors, including existing private health care providers, must learn to operate with integrity. The knowledge of human resource specialists in each organization must be utilized in promoting ethics and integrity. Such a step can only be taken when our leaders in business and government are in full agreement with each other.
A utilitarian approach must be embraced to run businesses and make economic and political decisions for the benefit of our entire country.
This requires that our businesses and government authorities work together, learn from mistakes that have been made, and perform a better job in the coming days to demonstrate a united front to the world against deception and irregularities. Such changes can only be achieved by putting integrity first in every decision.
Aishi Dastidar is a Sociology graduate from the University of Leeds, UK.