Lone doctor has been working at Durgapur Upazila Health Complex in Netrakona for the last five months, causing immense sufferings to thousands of patients.
It is the only hospital for around three lakh residents in the upazila, mostly belong to poor families. People from adjacent Kalmakanda upazila and Dhobaura upazila in Mymensingh also visit the hospital. They cannot get proper treatment due to lack of doctors and other staff.
The health complex, upgraded to a 50-bed hospital in 2009, has two operation theatres and separate wards for dental, medicine and gynecology. The government hospital also provides various test facilities.
Though the hospital is well-equipped, patients are deprived of proper treatment for shortage of doctors and technicians. As the post of lone anesthetist has been lying vacant for long, the necessary operations cannot be done there.
Hospital sources said there are 17 posts of doctors but only five are posted at the health complex. Of the five, two are on deputation at Netrakona Medical College and one (consultant) is at Dhaka Medical College Hospital while another is on leave on health ground.
The lone doctor, Resident Medical Officer (RMO) ASM Tanjirul Islam Raihan, has been running the hospital for some five months.
The post of Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer remained vacant after the officer joined here on March 9 and went on a training the same day.
Out of eight posts of sweepers, five are lying vacant. Out of three posts of health inspectors, two has been lying vacant for long.
But the posts of 24 nurses are fulfilled, said Dr Raihan.
The lone ambulance of the hospital is also out of order for over a year and the only X-Ray machine is dead for over three years. A few tests are done at the hospital but the patients have to go to private clinics for major tests like ultra-sonogram, X-Ray and some blood tests, said hospital sources.
Over 60 patients remain admitted at the hospital regularly. The rush of patients at the outdoor is over 250 daily and it is very difficult to handle the huge patients, said the RMO.
As the hospital is in the remote area, the doctors who join there often try to get transfered on various excuses like bad communication, said local people.
Interestingly, some doctors who left the area on transfer also work for different private clinics adjacent to the hospitals for private practice, alleged the locals.
Praising the frantic efforts of the lone doctor and nurses, Rahima Akhter, a local school teacher, said posting of necessary doctors and staff can make the hospital situation better.
Ajoy Saha, president of Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan) Durgapur unit, said due to negligence of the authorities concerned, patients are being deprived of their due services though the hospital has necessary supports.
Cashing in on the situation, private clinics and diagnostic centres grown up adjacent to the hospital are doing brisk business, he alleged.
Civil Surgeon Dr Tajul Islam Khan said they have already informed the higher authorities about the matter.