An empty nurses station at a ward in Chittagong Medical College Hospital around noon yesterday. Nurses and class-III and IV employees of the hospital, leaving work, demonstrated in front of the hospital against declaring the college a university. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das
Yesterday there was no nurse or staff in Chittagong Medical College Hospital's (CMCH) gynaecology ward around 10:30am to change the dressing on Kulsum Akter who underwent Caesarean section on Wednesday.
The same was for Imran Hossain, a February 24 road accident victim, at the casualty ward alongside others at CMCH's remaining 38 wards from around 9:30am till 1:00am, as per people tending to patients.
The situation has been prevailing for the last three days with several hundred nurses and class III and IV staff demonstrating around the hospital protesting the government decision to upgrade Chittagong Medical College (CMC) into a university.
A relative pushing a patient in wheelchair to get services. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das
Eyewitnesses say the demonstrators, who fear that the upgradation would result in job cuts, did not even pay heed to CMCH Director Brig Gen Khondakar Shahidul Ghani's request not to use megaphones near the hospital.
Talking to The Daily Star, Ratan Kumar Nath, general secretary of Diploma Nurses Association, Chittagong, however claimed that yesterday there was a single nurse at every ward and some staff at the outpatient and emergency wards.
He also claimed that the situation was the same on Saturday and Sunday except for the outpatient ward where there was none.
CMC Principal Mohammad Jahangir said there was no possibility of job cuts; rather benefits would increase.
CMCH Deputy Director Dr Sheikh Shahabuddin Ahmed said the director had informed protestors yesterday of the assurance of the director general of the directorate general of health services and health ministry secretary to keep CMCH as a government institution.
“Only CMC will be upgraded to a university,” he said.