The patients at Chittagong Medical College Hospital have gone through untold sufferings due to lack of electricity for three days, as the hospital administration failed to repair the 60-year old transformer that exploded last Thursday, according to a report published in this newspaper.
While the hospital authority has managed to provide electricity to the emergency unit, operation theatre and ICU through alternative power supplies, most of the wards remained without power, among them the dialysis and the pathology units, leaving patients in dire conditions. The sweltering heat of the summer and a water crisis subsequent to the power outage made matters even worse for the ailing patients who desperately needed nursing as much as they needed medical treatment.
This bizarre incident symbolises the broken state of the country's healthcare delivery systems—often characterised by lack of resources, poor management, a very high rate of absenteeism among doctors and nurses, lack of regulation on prices of medicine and sometimes, sheer negligence.
While many rural areas of the country now have accessible community outreach healthcare systems in place, in big cities such as Dhaka and Chittagong the vast majority of healthcare services are still based in hospitals some of which are in deplorable conditions.
With a 10 percent increase in allocation for healthcare in this year's national budget, we expect to see some real changes in the way healthcare services are delivered to the masses. But more money will not automatically translate into better quality unless management of hospitals is smart, efficient and prepared to deal with emergencies such as power outages in order to reduce the needless sufferings of patients.