Rudro Rasel: Some vested quarters, including health staff have clutched the medical sector by establishing the strong intervention on the policymakers that leading the anarchy in health service.
The mayhem is going on from the top to the root level in the sector that pushing threat to public health and treasury fund for over than Tk 1000 crore. The unexpected situation has been come to the light publicly after showing the preparation of the sector to curb the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. They countrymen also expressed the deep concerned on the treatment capacity as they authorities remain silence to play the proper role tackling the coronavirus outbreak.
Panic is also created among the government and mass people soon after series report on poor condition of medical sector’s preparation that was originated from massive corruption in each and every section of the health sector amid the upward ongoing huge budget and donation from home and abroad.
In this back drop, the local health sector through three-pronged approach by violating the government instruction and rule regulation. During the COVID-19 pandemic approximately Tk 1000 crore have been corrupted in various ways, according to the primary investigation of Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) and Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) authorities concerned. Eleven division of corruption of this sector have been identified.
In the sector the government is trying to fix loopholes, especially in fighting Covid-19, but success stories are overshadowed so far by its failure. The most corrupted sector, that was identified by research are- tender, purchase, recruitment, promotion, transfer, posting, medical treatment, supply of medical equipment and medicines supply.
Experts suggest that Bangladesh needs to ensure transparency, accountability and application of relevant laws to get rid of its decades-long struggling health sector.
A set of immensely poor plans worsened the coronavirus crisis in the country, they said.
Mentionable, the ACC, the ministry, media, intelligence agencies know about misappropriation of billions of money through corruption. How could a clerk, Afzal, misappropriate Tk 20 billion alone? Who is his ‘godfather’? The persons he had given shares to are not altogether unknown. Did the health DG, director not know anything at all about that? How could he flee the country?
Besides, Tk 55 crore was showed for expenditure to buy five pieces of computer software whereas the average unit price was Tk 28 lakh, Tk 10.5 crore was quoted as four websites development cost against the highest market price of Tk 2 lakh for developing each website, the price for 30 audio clips was proposed at Tk 11.5 crore whereas a movie cost Tk 1 to 2 crore.
ACC and others sources said, during COVID-19 pandemic Bangladesh started two projects with Tk 1117 crore and Tk 1365 crore funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB). ACC found corruption in these two projects recently.
On the other hand, the government started a project to give Tk 2500 per head among 50 lakh poor family. At the first session of the project huge corruption is detected and for that cause government bound to stop the project and 102 Public representatives were suspended.
The Health Ministry started Purification operation and they black listed 43 non government Hospital, Clinic, Laboratory and Diagnostic centre. The maximum officials of Health Directorate and the state owned Directorate of Drug Administration were transfer.
Recently in a research report titled `The challenge of good governance in tackling the corona virus crisis’, the corruption of local health sector is marked. TIB’s report says, to tackle Covid-19, though government takes some developed steps and activities, but still now in various taken-activities has serious lacking of good governance. For that cause, Corruption in the health sector is deeply widespread.
Transparency International, Bangladesh, Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman said, corruption is going on in the health sector through three-pronged approach. A strong syndicate of contractor and health sector’s government officials are involved and they continue help to success the corruption.
The government was busy covering up corruption in the health sector rather than curbing the irregularities reported. It is even focusing more on preventing dissenting voices speaking out against the health sectors setback in catering to our countrymen, he said. Donor agencies funding different projects, including those in the health sector, cannot avoid responsibility for the irregularities, he added.
Public health expert Taufique Joarder said, the grim picture of Bangladesh’s poor healthcare system was painted in a global ranking published last October which was way before the pandemic started. She suggested a civil society platform be formed to act as a watchdog for curbing irregularities in the health sector, thus, improving its treatment facilities.
`If they were truly committed to their role to ensure compliance in the projects, there could have been very few chances for corruption’, he said.
Health sector in dire straits due to inefficiency, mismanagement, corruption
Our health division has failed totally. Either they did not know about the monstrosity of this infectious disease or want to hide it. Some thought the virus will be burnt in scorching heat or will be swept away by rain. The result is we are chasing the virus which is well ahead
The BMA Ehteshamul Huq Chowdhury said he does not want to see corruption in the health sector of Bangladesh in post-coronavirus times. He further said he did not want to see any official made OSD or given punishment transfer for not favouring corruption.
He also called for increasing the health budget to ensure proper treatment of the people, procuring advanced equipment and appointing workforce in large numbers.
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