The machines are extremely important for detection of diseases, especially during this ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Lung x-rays are vital for the treatment of patients with Covid-19 symptoms while many hospitals have been seeing a long queue of patients because of shortage of ventilators and other ICU equipment.

An x-ray, ECG and USG machine could not be installed at Dhunat upazila health complex in Bogura because of lack of technical assistance. The machines could not be unpacked for 17 years.

Such incidents could be avoided if all the parties involved with buying equipment be responsible
Professor Md Nazmul Islam, Spokesperson , health directorate

Speaking about this to Prothom Alo, Dhunat upazila health and family planning officer Hasanul Hasib said the x-ray machine was damaged from the outset. ECG and ultra sonogram machines may also be damaged, remaining idle for long. Proposals were sent to the health department for several times for a digital x-ray machine.

Another 12 x-ray machines

Four x-ray machines remain unopened at the upazila health complexes of Raipur, Ramganj and Kamalnagar in Lakshmipur, two at Faridpur Medical College Hospital, one each at Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital in Bogura, and at the health complexes in Dharampasha and Jagannathpur in Sunamganj, Bhanga in Faridpur, Sarishabari in Jamalpur and Sonagazi in Feni.

Infections and deaths in Covid-19 were high in Bogura, Faridpur and Narail from June to first week of August. In the same period, the pressure of patients was high at the hospitals of Patuakhali and Sunamganj.

Faridpur civil surgeon Md Siddiqur Rahman said the rate of infection in Faridpur touched 55 per cent. Currently it is around 28-34 per cent.

Lal Mia, 59, a resident of Lakshmipur Moholla in Faridpur town, said “I have been suffering from breathing complications. Physicians asked me to have a chest x-ray. But I could not get it done at Faridpur General Hospital. Later, I had to spend more money to have the x-ray at a private clinic.”

A patient, Rezaul Karim, said that he had to have x-rays of his hands and legs from a clinic at higher costs as the hospital’s x-ray machine was not working.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Dharampasha upazila health and family planning officer Md Emran Hossain said they could not begin using the x-ray and ultra sonogram machines because of lack of technologists and sonologists. A letter has been issued to the director general of health directorate (DGHS) through the civil surgeon about all the problems of this hospital, he added.

Ventilator

Four ventilators, including two from China’s Jack Ma Foundation, have been lying packed at Patuakhali Medical College Hospital for the last four months.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Patuakhali Medical College Hospital supervisor Mohammad Abdul Matin said, “It’s not possible to operate the ventilators sent here. This hospital does not have the facilities required to run the ventilators.”

Two ventilators have remained idle at Faridpur General Hospital for four months. The hospital’s RMO (residential medical officer) Ganesh Kumar Agarwala said, “Two ventilators have arrived here from Jack Ma Foundation around four months ago. We opened the boxes around a month ago only to find that those are not a complete set. We’ve informed the matter to DGHS director general.”

Other equipment

Three ultrasonogram machines remained packed at the upazila health complexes of Rajbari’s Goalanda, Sunamganj’s Dharampasha and Jagannathpur. Of those three, the USG machine at Goalanda upazila health complex has been in its package for the last seven years.

Goalanda upazila health and family planning officer Asif Mahmood said people from the health directorate checked the USG machine in the second week of June. They said various parts of the machine including software are damaged, he added.

The laparoscopy machine at Narail sadar hospital is in its box for the last two years.

Because of lack of supply of a chemical, Agar, a culture incubator and a hot air oven could not be used at Kulaura health complex, Moulvibazar, for the last 15 years. The central laboratory of the health department in Dhaka is supposed to supply the chemical.

Medical technologist at Kulaura health complex, Saidur Rahman Chowdhury, said the culture incubator is used for different tests of blood, urine and stool while hot air oven is used to disinfect the machines used for conducting the tests. The culture incubator could not be used as the authorities do not supply ‘agar’. We’ve informed the health directorate about the matter a long time ago, he said.

There are allegations that the businesspeople in collusion with the health department officials supply the equipment to hospitals without taking the hospitals’ demands into consideration. Sometimes the hospital authorities buy machines without considering the requirements of the concerned departments. And the machines remain packed for the lack of trained technicians. Lack of accountability and coordination led to this situation.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, health directorate spokesperson professor Md Nazmul Islam said, “Such incidents could be avoided if all the parties involved with buying equipment were responsible. The health directorate will take all possible steps so that no such incident is repeated.”

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