BMDC inactivity creates scope for unethical practice of docs
Inactivity of Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC) for the last 11 years has deteriorated the standards of medical education and quality medicare as well as created scope for unethical practices of doctors.
As the BMDC council, which is the implementing authority and gives approval of the works of the committees, could not sit for the last 11 years following the pending order on a court verdict, it becomes inactive virtually.
BMDC is the central accreditation body to control medical education and watch the ethical issues in medical practices.
Though the executive, standing recognition and disciplinary committees have been continuing the routine work, investigation reports of these counselling committees remain unimplemented for not having the approval of the council.
“The BMDC becomes a medical council with no council at all,” said former president of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) Prof Rashid E Mahbub, adding that the day-to-day activities of the council such as recognising the degrees and authenticating the foreign degrees have been hampering due to the non-approval of the council.
He further said that at the same time, it has not been monitoring the medical examinations and courses that thwart the standard of medical education.
Experts said BMDC also had not been taking any action against the doctors involved in the unethical practice that lead to the suffering of the patients. It also hinders taking action by the BMDC even if the disciplinary committee files complaint against the doctors following investigations.
Activities of BMDC include recognition of medical and dental qualifications granted by medical and dental institutions in the country and abroad, setting of scheme of reciprocity with foreign medical and dental councils for recognition of medical and dental qualifications, amendment of schedules and registration of medical and dental practitioners.
Inspecting the medical and dental institutions, withdrawal of recognition of medical and dental institutions, taking action against the medical and dental practitioners who use false title, etc prescribing a uniform standard of courses of training and prescribing minimum requirement for the content and duration of courses of study are also the functions of the BMDC.
Talking to The Daily Star, BMDC Registrar Dr Basunia said it is completely active, adding that doctors who should uphold ethical practice and it is not possible to stop their unethical practices by forcing them.
He, however, said due to the non-functioning state of the council, its annual general meeting cannot take place for the last few years and problems arise whenever it needs a directive actually.
“Above all, it becomes difficult to comply with the act that said a new council should be formed in every three years,” he added.
According to the university rules, nobody above the age of 65 years can be a teacher of a private medical college. He or she cannot be a councillor or president of BMDC. So, the then president of the council Abu Ahmed Chowdhury filed a case against the government in 1997. The court then ordered to hold back the council election until the issue is settled. Since then, the BMDC council is non-existent resulting the statutory body from taking all policy decisions.
As the health ministry did not take any initiative to vacate the case during the period of the previous governments, it was not possible to start the council election, said Prof Iqbal Arslan, secretary general of Swadhinata Chikitshak Parishad, adding that it certainly hampered medical education and service in the country.
However, it is good that the caretaker government took the initiative and the health ministry has recently vacated the case.
Process has already been started for formulation of a new council, sources said, adding that representatives of public medical colleges have been elected by this time. But the divisional nominees of the government, parliament and chief justice are yet to be nominated.
The government also has amended the BMDC Act on June 18 this year to make it an active organisation for controlling the quality of medical education as well as its services.