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Stay at workplace or quit, PM Hasina asks physicians

Voicing displeasure at the unwillingness of government physicians to stay at hospitals in the country’s remote areas, prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said if one fails to stay in his or her posted area then he or she may quit job paving the path for fresh recruitment.

“If they leave their workplace (remote hospitals), then they should discontinue their job. They can earn huge money if they carry out private practice staying in Dhaka. They may quit their job. We’ll then go for fresh recruitment,” she said.

The prime minister further said, “When we appoint new doctors, and give them posting at the upazila-level hospitals, they don’t stay there. This problem appears in case of government jobs. Whenever we post them, they somehow manage to return to or stay in Dhaka.”

Sheikh Hasina said this ahead of the handover of the keys of ambulances to 98 government hospitals, upazila health complexes and health institutions at a simple ceremony at her office here.

She directed the authorities concerned to maintain the standard of education in the country’s medical colleges for building quality physicians.

“We’ve set up many medical colleges…but they need to maintain the quality of education. They’ve to look into the matter whether their students are going to be physicians of killing people or saving them,” she said.

Mentioning that internet services are now available across the country, the PM said it will be fruitful if the students of the medical colleges can follow the classes and lectures of quality colleges through the internet.

She said foreign expert physicians should be allowed to come to the country’s medical institutions for teaching purpose so that local doctors can gather experiences staying with them. “If that can be done, our patients will not require going abroad for medical treatment.”

About the ambulances, Hasina asked the health ministry to create a maintenance fund during the formulation of the ministry’s annual budget so that minor repair works of those can be done timely.

She stressed the need for introduction of river ambulance services for the country’s islands and Haor regions.

Noting that her government is taking the healthcare services to the doorsteps of people, the prime minister directed all concerned to concentrate on ensuring the health services.

She said directives have already been given to the housing and public works ministry to build multistoried building at Upazila level where physicians and other officials could stay there paying rents.

Hasina underscored the need for creating more gastroenterologists as the country has few physicians in this field.

The prime minister focused on creating a trust fund for the community clinics so that no one can halt its activities in the future as the BNP-Jamaat government did. The BNP-Jamaat government had taken a suicidal step by closing the clinics. “If they come to power, they will shut down it again,” she said.

Health and family welfare minister Mohammad Nasim, state minister Zahid Maleque, health services division secretary Md Serajul Huq Khan and director general for health services professor Abul Kalam Azad also spoke on the occasion, liberation war affairs minister AKM Mazammel Huq, prime minister’s adviser HT Imam and state minister for fisheries and livestock Narayan Chandra Chanda present on the occasion.

Later, Sheikh Hasina formally handed over dummy keys of seven ambulances to authorities concerned of the Bandaran Sadar Hospital, Upazila Health Complexes of Tungipara in Gopalganj, Rajibpir in Kurigram district, Fultala in Khulna, Kendua in Netrakona, Kaliakoir in Gazipur district and the National Institution of Cardiovascular Diseases in Dhaka.

A total of 60 ambulances of Japan’s Toyota brand procured at a cost of Tk 4.1 million each would be handed over this month, while 38 more such ambulances will be handed over next month.

The ambulances were procured with the fund of the revenue budget of the health services division under the health ministry to further improve the health services.