It is quite astonishing to find that a newly constructed 250 bed hospital in 2017 has not been commissioned due to an inter-departmental row over pending electricity bills. The new building was constructed at a cost of Tk 26 crore under the Health Population and Nutrition Centre Development Project as an extension of the Bagerhat Sadar Hospital. We are informed that the Bagerhat Public Works Department (PWD) has issued a bill of Tk 11.3 lakh against Bagerhat civil surgeon, and this is the snag. The issue of outstanding bills has resulted in a flurry of letters being exchanged between the health ministry and PWD but nothing has transpired over the last two years.
In the meantime, patients are being deprived of services despite the fact that the new building is ready. The new facility is a modern health facility that will have intensive care unit (ICU), CT scan, outdoor treatment, etc. These are critical services for the thousands of patients in a district town and that is precisely why the hospital was extended in the first place. However, we fail to see why this issue has not been prioritised over the last two years and a solution found. This delay inevitably translates into patients with serious conditions in Bagerhat having to resort to much more expensive treatment in private hospitals or going to Dhaka. These out-of-pocket expenditures are a major drain on people. The relevant authorities should sort out the bureaucratic issues as soon as possible so that patients in Bagerhat can have access to the services they need in their own district.