Making human misery capital for building undue and outrageous fortunes is nothing unusual in this country. If acceptance of bribe or sharing of a certain percentage of the speed money for public service within normal official function is a starting point, adoption of fraudulent and coercive means of monstrous nature and proportion to accumulating wealth completes the process. Multi-level marketing companies have lured simple folks into their traps only to melt in thin air with the life's savings of tens of thousands. A section of manpower exporters have not only pauperised unsuspecting needy families but caused premature tragic death to young job-seekers on foreign lands. The arrest of an MP in Qatar for his involvement in illegal manpower trade indicates that it is not he alone, there are many like him whose insatiable avarice has taken them to dark tunnels of crimes.
In a country where banks are shaken by loan scams and millions of takas are declared non-recoverable, manipulation of stock market can rob thousands of small investors of their invested money, there is a clear incentive for dishonest elements to go with their ways.
However, it was not too much to expect that this unprecedented pandemic would give enough cause for minds with criminal bend to rein in their greed for unearned wealth. A virus that does not discriminate between the good or bad, the rich and poor could have left a sobering influence on every mortal -no matter what position one holds or what vocation one pursues.
If one has hoped for humility, supplication and retrospection for reformation of minds full of intrigues, evil design, corruption and crimes, one has to be terribly frustrated. They are those people who are out to make the most of the situation presented before them by the rampaging coronavirus. As if they are immune to its attack!
Right from the beginning of the panic caused by the virus's presence in the country, face masks were in great demand and those became dear. But it was the complaints against the quality of the personal protective equipment (PPE) that initially were not taken very seriously but now appear to be highly substantial. Reportedly, substandard PPE were supplied by several firms or companies. This, according to doctors, has been responsible for high incidence of transmission of the disease and death among those serving patients in hospitals.
When the service providers are made vulnerable to the disease because of compromise on the quality of protective gears, its ripple effects are bound to be unusually adverse on the total healthcare system. Also unearthing of factories manufacturing spurious disinfectants, sanitizers and protective gears show the threat posed to public life. Lack of confidence in medical facilities and materials is so pervasive that patients are apprehensive of seeking treatment in hospitals. They would rather follow the treatment regime at home instead of seeking admission to a hospital. Similar was the case in New York when the pandemic took that city by storm earlier than any other in the United States of America.
There are several reasons why people feel scared of hospital service. When critical patients suffering from non-communicable diseases are turned out from doors of hospitals one after another and they drop dead after knocking at five to seven such facilities, patients and their near and dear ones cannot be blamed for developing a hospital phoebia. Patients are asked to produce non-corona report before admission or treatment.
True, medical service is overwhelmed not only in this country but in countries with the most advanced healthcare system. But when the situation defies rational solution, most people take a fatalistic view of life and still there are a few who embark on helping the ailing humanity with the scarce available resources. Many such doctors, health workers and volunteers have demonstrated limitless courage, dedication and love for the fellow human beings.
To the other extreme, a handful of fiends have taken undue advantage of the testing time. A case in point is the crime against humanity in the name of serving it. The owner-chairman of Regent Hospital which has its main branch at Uttara and another branch at Mirpur with a shady record of swindling Tk1.0 billion (100 crore) from MLM business has been at the centre of a stupendous healthcare scam. Reportedly, the swindled money was invested in developing the hospital branches. What is intriguing is that the man, a great impersonator, could run the hospital for the past six years without renewal of licences. His facilities still managed to enter into an agreement with the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) to provide treatment for Covid-19 patients as a specialized hospital. Although the hospital had no permission for running RT-PCR tests, it got most of these done from recognized labs. Under this garb, it also issued fake corona-positive and negative reports and submitted a bill for it to the DGHS. While the test and treatment under the agreement was free of charge, he coerced between Tk 3,000 and 4,000 from as many as 1,000 patients. The gravest offence is the issuance of fake corona report. Earlier another healthcare facility was found guilty of this crime about two weeks ago. Who knows when more such horrendous crimes unfold next. Such medical malpractice is unthinkable in any advanced country struggling with the pandemic.
In this connection let us piece together another story involving the suspension of flights from Bangladesh by Italy on detection of multiple cases of corona positive among Bangladesh passengers in the plane bound for that country. There is nothing to be surprised if the Italy-bound emigrants were issued such fake corona reports. This is a blow to the nation's image -only more so in this time of pandemic when migrant workers are not most welcome in many countries. Social parasites feeding on people's honest income must be rooted out in the interest of fair play, justice and desirable progress of society.