Doctors of Kuwait-Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital started a sit-in protest at the hospital director's office, demanding accommodation as they were driven out from a designated hotel yesterday noon.
Many disgruntled doctors decided to stay in the director's room or at the hospital corridor unless and until the authorities ensure their accommodation.
Over 50 doctors were protesting. Many of them alleged that the authorities of Hotel Hansa suddenly told them to check out by noon yesterday.
"Where can we go now?... We decided to go to the [hospital] director's office with our luggage," said a medical officer of the hospital.
"We put our lives at risks when people are afraid to go out. We have been treating Covid-19 patients since the beginning and this is how we're rewarded," said the frustrated doctor.
"We have to either stay in the director's room or at the hospital corridor as even our relatives do not want to give us accommodation for a single night," another doctor said.
"Where would our colleagues, whose families live outside Dhaka, stay now? It is the government's duty to ensure our accommodation with transport service and security," he added.
On July 29, the health ministry issued a circular that the government had decided not to pay the hotel bills of the health workers, including doctors, treating Covid-19 patients and cancelled the hotel accommodation.
Instead, a doctor in Dhaka will get a daily allowance of Tk 2,000 and Tk 1,800 outside Dhaka, a nurse will get an allowance of Tk 1,200 in Dhaka and Tk 1,000 outside Dhaka, and a health worker will get Tk 800 in Dhaka and Tk 650 outside Dhaka, it added.
The circular asked the authorities concerned to implement the order soon.
Amid protests, the authorities extended the deadline several times and finally asked them to check-out yesterday.
Before that the authorities asked hospital's doctors to stay in six government establishments in the city.
The doctors then formed an Accommodation Committee which visited the six establishments but authorities of the establishments discouraged them with various excuses, doctors alleged.
"We can go home only after we test Covid-19 negative after completing our duty roster. We have elderly parents, babies at home. Why would I put them at risk? Who will take responsibility if our loved ones get infected through us?" asked another physician.
"We do not want five star accommodation. We just want a decent place to stay in after discharging our duties," he said.
Contacted, Dr Sarwar ul Alam, director of the hospital, said he was not in a position to talk now and hung up.
The hotel authorities could not be contacted for comments.
On September 19, doctors of Covid-19 unit of Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital surrounded the director's office for the same reason.