Stop raids amid the pandemic

Bangladesh Private Medical College Association yesterday demanded that law enforcement agencies stop raiding health facilities during the pandemic.

A six-member delegation of the association made the demand in an hour-long meeting with Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan at his home in the capital’s Dhanmondi.

This happens a day after Rab officers assisted by Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) raided Shahabuddin Medical College Hospital (SMCH) in Gulshan and detained its officials on charges of conducting unauthorised coronavirus tests and making test reports without any tests.

During yesterday’s meeting with the minister, the delegation members alleged that such raids covered live by the media are like “media trials”.

They told the minister that showing handcuffed doctors in the media may instigate healthcare providers to abstain from work, meeting sources said.

An association member said the infamous Regent Hospital and Shahbuddin Medical College Hospital should not be treated alike.

Two people, including an assistant director of the latter hospital, were detained during Sunday’s raid.

Rab said they found expired medical and surgery equipment at an operation theatre and unauthorised drugs during.

Talking to The Daily Star after the meeting with the minister, the president of the private medical association, Mubin Khan said he told the minister that such raids have spread fear among hospital owners and doctors.

“They [doctors, nurses and owners] may be discouraged from giving treatment and then the general public will be deprived from health care during the pandemic,” he said.

“We do not oppose taking action against a hospital that has faults. But the action should be taken by the health ministry or Directorate General of Health Services, following proper investigation.

“We are facing a media trial, which tarnishes the image of the hospitals, doctors and authorities concerned. We sought his intervention in this regard.”

The minister listened to their points and assured them of taking necessary steps, he added.

Meanwhile, the authorities of Shahabuddin Medical College yesterday held a press conference and claimed that Rab was misinformed about the hospital.

A doctor could have conducted antibody tests on their own. The reports in question were not prepared in the hospital’s lab and did not have the lab number that the hospital provides on every report. There was no signature of the lab official either, Prof Md Jafarullah, of the medical college, told reporters.

“The hospital will not take the responsibility for an individual’s fault,” he said, adding that nothing illegal  happened in the hospital’s lab.

He admitted that their licence expired on June 30, 2019. They have submitted renewal fees and the process of licence renewal is underway, he said.

Prof Md Jafarullah said so far 220 Covid-19 patients got admitted there, and of them 192 recovered. Most of them tested positive elsewhere and then got admitted to the hospital.

He also admitted that the DGHS recently suspended their Covid-19 tests.

He claimed that his officials have no idea how the expired drugs got into the hospital.


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