A super specialised hospital that serves no one
It is unacceptable that despite being inaugurated nearly eight months back, the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University's (BSMMU's) super specialised hospital is still not ready to serve patients. Constructed at a cost of Tk 1,500 crore (Tk 1,047 crore of which was provided as a loan by South Korea), the hospital was intended to provide state-of-the-art treatment at a relatively cheaper cost to patients who mainly seek treatment abroad.
Delays in project implementation has been a persistent problem in Bangladesh, and the BSMMU's super specialised hospital is, unfortunately, yet another case in point. Reportedly, the authorities have been instructed to open the hospital by July 1. Now, they are rushing to open it in a haphazard manner and asking various departments to provide funds from their income to the new hospital each month to meet the operational costs. The hospital needs a 1,000-strong workforce to be operational, yet as of June 7, only 250 people have been recruited. While the authorities must speed up their procedures to meet the deadline, they must also make sure that they don't end up glossing over important details in the process, hence jeopardising the safety of patients in the future. It is also a matter of concern whether the authorities can actually keep up with the high-tech medical solutions that are supposed to be offered at the unit.
BSMMU is one of the oldest medical schools in the country, and it is extremely disappointing to see how it is riddled with corruption and incompetencies. Just a few days ago, even the High Court expressed dismay at the state of affairs at the hospital and criticised its overall environment. Meanwhile, the super specialised hospital of BSMMU is already under fire for alleged corruption during the recruitment process. The allegations are apparently being looked into, but as we see in most cases in Bangladesh, these issues simply fizzle out and the corrupt continue on their merry way. This impunity to the corrupt must end.
Every year, approximately 800,000 Bangladeshis travel abroad for treatment, spending millions of dollars in foreign currency. Given Bangladesh's severe foreign currency crunch, it is all the more pertinent now to ensure we scale up our healthcare services. To this end, we urge the BSMMU authorities, who have already wasted too much time and resources, to ensure smooth operations of the super specialised unit without any further delay.