Lawmakers blast health boss
Eighty percent people of the country will be vaccinated for Covid-19 within the first quarter of next year, Health Minister Zahid Maleque told parliament yesterday.
While explaining, the minister said Bangladesh will get 6.30 crore vaccine shots within December under the Covax facilities.
"Besides, we will get seven crore doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine and will be able to vaccinate seven crore people with the jabs by the first quarter of next year," he added.
In reply to opposition BNP and Jatiya Party lawmakers' huge criticism against the health ministry's failure to ensure vaccine for the people, the minister said around 25 lakh shots of Moderna vaccine would reach the country on July 2-3. Chinese vaccines will also arrive by that time.
"Bangladesh has signed an agreement with Chinese Sinopharm to get 1.50 crore vaccine shots."
He said, "The country will have a total stock of 10 crore shots by December and we will be able to jab five crore people with the doses," the minister said.
This is how the country will be able to inoculate 80 percent of its people against Covid-19 within the first quarter of next year, the minister added.
OPPOSITION MPS' PROTEST
Opposition MPs yesterday raised a hue and cry in parliament when the health minister asked them to play their due role in overseeing the activities of different hospitals in their respective constituencies.
Zahid Maleque said this when the opposition MPs came down heavily on him for his failure to ensure vaccine for people, stop corruption, irregularities and mismanagement in the health sector.
The lawmakers also alleged that the health minister has failed to ensure recruitment of the required number of doctors and nurses in this sector.
In response, the minister said, "Every MP is the chairman of the hospital's development committee [in their constituencies]. You have to take responsibility. You will have to oversee the development activities in your hospital. You will have to inform me about hospital equipment or the required number of doctors. But you don't do that."
At that time, MPs opposed the minister's statement through raising a hue and cry at the House chamber.
The minister claimed that his ministry has so far showed 150 percent performance through implementing various activities include buying of Covid-19 vaccine, treating around 1 lakh Covid patients for free, and setting up labs at the cost of Tk 20,000 crore.
Earlier, opposition BNP, Jatiya Party and Gonoforum MPs criticised the minister for widespread corruption and irregularities in the health sector.
JP MP Pir Fazlur Rahman said, "How many times will I give a DO (Demi Official) letter? There is no ambulance in the hospital in my constituency. When will I get a doctor? When will I get the X-ray machine? When will I get a radiologist? Every time I told the health minister; he asked me to give a DO letter. How many times will I give you the DO letter?"
Another JP lawmaker Shameem Haider Patwari said, "The health ministry could not spend the money. If the ministry cannot spend the money, share the money with 350 MPs. We will spend the money in our area for healthcare."
BNP's Harunur Rashid said the health sector was going through a crisis. Massive corruption took place in purchasing of different medical equipment.
BNP's Mosharraf Hossain, JP's Rustam Ali Faraji and Mujibul Hub Chunnu also slammed the minister.
The health minister, however, rejected all allegations and asked the lawmakers to raise the issue of corruption after proper verification.