Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), a rights organisation, today served a legal notice to the government requesting it to take necessary steps to ensure treatment of Covid-19 patients at all hospitals and clinics across the country.
Barrister Rashna Imam sent the notice to the health secretary and the director general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) asking them to enforce the relevant DGHS directives issued on May 11 and 24.
The directives said that Covid-19 patients cannot be denied treatment at any hospitals.
Rashna Imam told The Daily Star that the respondents have been given seven days to strictly enforce the directives across the country.
"A writ petition will be moved before the High Court for necessary directives if the respondents don't take the necessary measures in seven days," the lawyer added.
In the legal notice, BLAST said it had noticed in different news reports that certain private hospitals and clinics refused to treat patients without Covid-19 test results.
In a report published in The Daily Star On May 21 titled "Victims of denial", the fates of three individuals who were denied treatment was narrated.
Two died after being denied treatment and one suffered extreme distress.
In the May DGHS directives, it said all private and government hospitals must have separate arrangements for treating suspected Covid-19 patients and private hospitals and clinics cannot refuse treatment to patients, Covid-19 or otherwise, if they have the requisite facilities/equipment, the organisation said in the legal notice.
It said if a private hospital or clinic does not have the requisite facilities/equipment to treat a patient, then it may refer the patients to another hospital in consultation with the Covid-19 hospital control room of DGHS.
As evident from newspaper reports, several private hospitals and clinics have violated and are still continuing to violate the directives, Blast said in the notice.
Further, despite the widely reported cases of non-compliance by private hospitals and clinics, DGHS has till date failed to take any action against these hospitals or any step whatsoever to enforce the directives, it said.