Covid treatment: Cost 12 times higher at pvt hospitals
Covid-19 treatment cost was more than 12 times higher in private hospitals than that of public healthcare facilities, reveals a study conducted by the Transparency International Bangladesh.
This huge medical costs in private hospitals have put a financial burden on patients, it said.
Meanwhile, the study said costs for the Covid vaccination programme were Tk 12,993-16,721 crore, which is less than half of the claim of Health Minister Zahid Maleque.
The minister recently said the costs were around Tk 40,000 crore.
The average cost (bed, medicine, ICU, oxygen, and other expenditures) was Tk 35,938 in public hospitals, while it was Tk 4,58,537 in private hospitals, according to the study report shared in a webinar yesterday.
Last year, a similar study, done by the health ministry's Health Economics Unit, disclosed that the higher treatment cost in private hospitals was mainly due to not following the national treatment protocol.
Under the TIB study titled "Governance Challenges in Tackling Covid-19 Crisis: Inclusion and Transparency", researchers also explored the government's success and shortcomings in Covid-19 testing, vaccination campaign and the effectiveness of the financial incentive packages.
Between August 2021 and March 2022, they collected the data for the study through client experience survey in 45 districts, vaccine recipient exit poll survey in 43 districts, entrepreneur survey over phone with 425 entrepreneurs, observation in 105 vaccination centres, and interview.
The study shows that 22 percent patients faced multifaceted problems while undergoing treatment in public and private hospitals.
According to the study report, delayed services due to inadequate medical support caused the deaths of 7.8 percent patients and increased complications for 11.6 percent patients.
Around 18.9 percent infected people took treatment from other districts as treatment facilities in their own districts were adequate, and the average transport costs were Tk 3,535.
Although two years have passed after the pandemic hit the country, the problem of testing samples continues due to shortage of labs and poor management in Covid testing and treatment, the study said.
In public and private healthcare facilities, about 65 percent patients were not provided with the required medicine, while over 33 percent failed to get specialist doctors' advice when required.
On average, patients had to wait for three and a half hours to get a hospital bed. About 15 percent emergency patients got oxygen support late.
The study found 26.5 percent patients went to private hospitals to get better treatment because services in public hospitals were insufficient.
Of those who took part in the study, 28 percent faced difficulty in getting their samples tested, according to the survey.
Around 15 percent said they had to pay extra for Covid-19 tests.
The average cost for testing samples (transport, test fees, and other expenses) was Tk 399 at government labs and it was Tk 3,381 at private labs.
The study said although Bangladesh has made significant progress in providing the first dose of Covid vaccine, it ranks fifth among Saarc countries in providing the full-dose vaccines.
Special efforts to vaccinate the underprivileged and floating people have not been implemented, except in one or two areas.
Speaking at the event, TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said the government has a positive attitude towards tackling the Covid crisis.
"However, in terms of good governance, there are shortcomings in every field. No specific information on how much money was spent on vaccination is being published. The culture of secrecy is evident. And it is a normal practice to cover up any corruption behind it."