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Private health service must be monitored effectively

20 April 2023

That Bangladesh's prevailing public healthcare system is in a very sorry state cannot be overemphasised, but due to absence of proper monitoring the country's private health facilities are also beset with innumerable problems. In recent days the country has seen a spurt in the growth of hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres at the private initiative due to increase in number of patients as well as overall absence of quality public health service delivery system.
On a few occasions the government initiated countrywide drives against unauthorised health facilities, and hundreds of illegal private hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centres and blood banks were closed. But these drives were not enough. Health service delivery is not like cosmetic business. Instead of taking treatment of patients as a service, people involved in this business are mostly fleecing the gullible and helpless patients.
In the country many maternity clinics are being opened only to perform caesarian operations even though in most cases this procedure is just not necessary. In the past we noticed when drives were conducted; doctors, nurses and other staff fled from unlicensed hospitals. In one case in Narayanganj, they fled leaving a mother and her just-delivered newborn on the operating table after hearing that the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) was going to raid the hospital.
During the peak of Covid-19 pandemic, the nation was shocked to see two private hospitals providing exam tests for Covid-19 without any testing altogether. Money-making motive shamelessly dominates the healthcare business here. Go to a private clinic with just a seasonal fever, and you will be advised to perform several tests where doctors get kickbacks in the name of 'commission'. Even this allegation can be made against doctors of famous private hospitals operating in the capital.
Therefore, besides improving service delivery at the public health facilities, it is vitally important that all private hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres of the country should be brought under a strict supervision system so that they provide at least some standard of health service to the patients. We cannot let the people involved in the private health delivery system do as they please. 

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