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Shortage of doctors cripples services at upazila health complex in Kurigram

Staff Reporter:

Only three physicians in Bhurungamari Upazila Health Complex of Kurigram are currently providing necessary medical services to at least two and a half lakh people of the upazila.

According to the Upazila Health Department sources, although there are 30 posts, including specialist doctors, that exist in the 50-bed Bhurungamari Upazila Health Complex, only three are currently working.

They are an upazila health officer, a resident medical officer and another doctor. Besides, two doctors are working in Kurigram Sadar Hospital on deputation and another 24 posts of doctors are vacant while one is receiving training.

Apart from this, the health complex also suffering from a significant shortage of medical staff and necessary employees. As a result, although X-ray, ultrasonogram and ECG facilities are available in the health complex for accurate diagnosis. But patients are not getting these facilities. One of the two ultrasonogram machines is broken and three out of four ECG machines are useless.

A new x-ray machine is available but there are no technicians to operate it. The operation theatre does not have an operation table and lights. Such critical conditions mainly deprive the marginal and poor patients in the upazila who are mostly suffering from life-threatening ailments. The Upazila Health Complex is the only place where they can have treatment at a low cost.

Amid such conditions, low-income people are rushing towards private clinics and struggling to meet the medical expenses. Moreover, hospital authorities are also struggling to treat a large number of patients in the outdoor department and emergency department every day.

During a recent visit to the hospital, the Daily Sun correspondent saw the upazila health officer was providing service to the patients in the residential medical officer’s office on the second floor due to a lack of electricity in the morning.

A long queue of male and female patients occurred there as only one doctor was available to provide treatment while the same picture was seen in the outdoor unit.

Relatives of the patients who came to the Upazila Health Complex said that the health complex can’t facilitate X-rays and ultrasonograms. They have to run to private clinics for the services which is highly expensive.

An elderly man Mosharraf Hossain, 60, who came for treatment at the health complex said that he came to the hospital in the morning with physical problems. He has been standing for an hour with some medical test papers to see the doctor.

Housewife Manowara Begum, 45, who got a sore on her leg, one and a half months ago, was standing in the queue since the morning and said “I came to see the doctor as my sores have subsided a little. I have been standing in line after buying a ticket.”

Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer Dr Abu Sajjad Mohammad Sayem said, “There is a shortage of doctors in the health complex. Because of this, we are struggling to provide medical services. After completing the administrative work, I am seeing patients regularly in the hospital.”

The related senior authorities have been informed about the shortage of doctors, medical equipment and other issues, he said.

Kurigram Civil Surgeon Manzoor-e-Morsed said, “I spoke to the director general (DG) of the health department on a video conference about the doctor crisis and other problems of the Bhurungamari health complex. We hope that the solution will be available soon.”

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