AUTHORITIES appear blissfully unconcerned about the fact that the fire extinguishing equipment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) had expired over a year ago. This is not some tin-pot, run down medical establishment; this is BSMMU, the country's premier medical institute and hospital which is housed in several multi-storied buildings.
It has 1,520 beds which, at any point in time, has around 1,200 – 1,300 patients admitted in it and where thousands of outpatients receive medical treatment daily. Hence, we are shocked to learn through a report published in this paper on May 12 that the 2,000 or so fire extinguishers meant for protecting the various buildings that constitute the BMSSU complex have been left installed beyond expiry date.
Precisely what do the authorities have to say for themselves? Have they moved for replacement? If so, when is this due? Although we are informed by authorities that 60 staff members have been trained to operate the equipment, the fact remains that the safety of so many thousands of patients and staff are left in harm's way because people in charge are not seized of the date expiry issue.
Such behaviour goes beyond a lack of professionalism, it is downright negligent and hospital authorities need to redress the oversight as soon as possible. Date expired equipment must be replaced and requisite personnel have to be retrained. There can be no compromise on safety.