The Financial Express

DG of health rips into media for ‘demoralising’ reports

| Updated: April 15, 2021 20:21:54

DG of health rips into media for ‘demoralising’ reports

Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of the directorate general of health services, was angered by media reports that he said dented the morale of the authorities in the battle against the pandemic.

Alam on Wednesday particularly mentioned a television report on a COVID-19 isolation centre that just “vanished”, reports bdnews24.com.

There was an “insulting” edge to the word in the report over the Bashundhara isolation centre, he said.

While speaking at a virtual media briefing at the directorate’s headquarters on Wednesday, the first day of the ‘complete lockdown’, Alam said criticism in some recent reports lowered the morale of the authorities, though media workers are themselves frontline combatants in the pandemic battle.

Alam said that there was no way “things can go wrong” in the steps implemented by the government.

“We are still human. We are not beyond errors, so some blunders are bound to happen. But if you put us under scrutiny in these pandemic times, it will weaken our mental strength.”

“I am not talking about everybody. I’ve found most of the media workers are with us,” he said.

Alam provided an explanation for what led to the suspension of the Bashundhara isolation centre and said: “The backdrop against which the isolation centre was established ceased to exist.”

“There was a lot of valuable equipment at the centre, including beds. We’ve distributed the equipment among different hospitals around the country as needed.”

The isolation centre spent Tk 6 million a day to provide services for a small number of patients -- no more than 20, but it deployed more than 1,000 people to run it, according to Alam.

Alam also complained that the report of Mohakhali’s DNCC isolation centre was “hugely skewed”.

Pointing to a former official whose complaints included an alleged failure to expand the capacity of the health directorate, Alam said: “Many public health experts have made criticism. But they themselves didn’t ever stand beside the patients.”

“They were directors general of IEDCR. What did they do then? Now they talk big on television.”

Alam called for the critics to come forward and stand beside the patients, instead of “sitting in a safe place and churning out confusing speeches on television”.

“Join us. Let us utilise your wisdom and knowledge. Become our comrades,” he said.

Alam went on to say: “My words in the press briefing may sound harsh. But it is not to personally attack anyone.”

“I’m just delivering the words of protest on behalf of the country, the people, the [prime minister], the health minister and the ministry.”

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