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DGHS to further trim list of Covid hospitals

Cost cutting is main reason

| Updated: September 29, 2020 15:09:46

DGHS to further trim list of Covid hospitals

Growing financial pressure coupled with less patients than capacity have forced the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to reduce services from some of its Covid-dedicated hospitals, officials said.

They said the directorate went for cancellation of agreements with the hospitals to prevent ballooning the expenses further as most of the beds remain empty.

When contacted, DGHS director (hospital) Dr. Md Farid Hossain Miah said they have recently scrapped MoU (memorandum of understanding) with two hospitals - Bashundhara covid hospital and Holy Family Hospital.

He said that continuation of the services at these hospitals proved to be quite expensive although majority of the beds remained vacant there.

Giving few examples, Mr Hossain said Bashundhara covid hospital placed a financial requisition of over Tk 37 million until this September while Holy Family sought around Tk 67 million.

"So, we cancelled the deals because further continuation of the services will further enhance the financial pressure that we don't want," said the DGHS director, who takes care of the hospital issues.

With this development, the list of dedicated hospitals declined to 27 from 30 and few more are in the pipeline to stop the services.

The directorate, at the same time, sought financial assistance of Tk 770 million from the government to bear the Covid-related expenses at the health complexes, district and general hospitals for six months till December 2020, DGHS sources said.

DGHS director (finance) Dr. Md Manzur Rahman said that they sought the fund to meet the requirements from the health complexes, sadar and general hospitals on Covid purposes.

The directorate received financial requisitions for Tk 1.41 billion but was later curtailed to Tk 770 million, he added.

"Today (Sunday), we sent the proposal to the ministry. We will distribute the fund rationally once it is released by the ministries concerned," he added.

The anti-graft activists and healthcare experts raised questions over the fund requirements and called upon the government authorities to recheck whether the estimation was logically made.

Executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Dr Iftekharuzzaman said there were some developments during the Covid that have negatively affected the image of the health division.

He said the authorities must well-check whether the grounds and benchmark in preparing the fund requisition are justified and matched with the reality.

"If it is justified, the disbursed fund needs to be properly audited to prevent the scope of misuse," he added.

Raising questions over the fund requirements by the Bashundhara hospital, he said the hospital authorities had officially claimed that they built the hospital to provide the service as part of the company's corporate social responsibility.

"Then why is the hospital placing financial requirements from the government?" he posed a question, calling upon the authorities concerned to look after the matter with serious attention.

The comments of the hospital authorities could not be obtained despite repeated efforts over mobile phone.

Secretary general of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) Dr Md Ehteshamul Huq Choudhury said the concerned ministry should be careful in distributing funds so that no fresh controversy arises over the Covid health management.


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