Speaking to Prothom Alo on Saturday evening, he said, “I could have lost my leg in the accident as well. I would never have realised the dilapidated situation of the centre if I had not been admitted here. Therefore, I am ready to sacrifice my leg, but the quality of service of the centre must improve. I am protesting from within the centre. If the administration thinks that it is too much for them, they can kill with an injection. But I have made my decision.”

One of Mahiuddin’s senior from the university was admitted to the same bed where Mahiuddin is staying now. Mahiuddin came to see him and had an accident on Fuller Road on his way back from the medical centre. First, he was taken to the emergency of Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Later, Mahiuddin was shifted to the medical centre of the university.

He told Prothom Alo, “My father cannot afford the money to admit me to any other hospital for better treatment. There are many more students at the university like me who are financially unstable. And the medical centre was made for the students like us. Then why is the centre in such a dilapidated situation?”

Mahiuddin is from Barishal. His father is a farmer. He has a sister. Mahiuddin said his family members knew that he had a minor injury in his leg. They were not informed about the critical condition of his leg as it would make them anxious.

After failing to get treatment at the medical centre, Mahiuddin posted a video of 2 minutes and 54 seconds on Facebook regarding the sufferings of the students, discrepancies and mismanagement at the medical centre on Thursday.

In the video, he said, “I haven’t seen any doctor or nurse since I got here. There is no wheelchair or stretcher here either. The only hope is the saline stand. There is no high commode in the toilets. There is no mosquito net either. The ward boy simply does not care about the patients even they are suffering. They all act according to their whims. I have been hearing about these problems for long, but would never have realised the situation if I had not suffered. I may have to stay here for around 21 days. I demand immediate solutions to this problem.”

After the video went viral, Hafeza Zaman, acting chief medical officer of the medical centre, went to see Mahiuddin. There she asked Mahiuddin about his needs and assured him to take necessary steps to solve different problems. Apart from Hafeza Zaman, the hall provost also visited him as well as the general students of the university.

Speaking to Prothom Alo over the phone, Hafeza Begum said, “I have promised the boy that I will solve all the problems he mentioned. I took time till Sunday.”

“I told him to submit his demands in writing so that I can discuss the issue with the administration. But instead of doing that he started a hunger strike. But I need time. I do not have the authority to fulfill his demands. The administration will do that,” she added.

Mahiuddin told Prothom Alo, “Hafeza Zaman Apa has assured me of doing her best in this regard. But my demands are also to several people in administration.”

The six-point demand of Mahiuddin includes setting up an information desk at the entry of the medical centre, a modern lift, a ramp, a wheelchair and other equipment for the students with special needs and to provide all necessary treatment for menstrual hygiene of female students as well as necessary vaccinations.

He also demanded availability of modern medical facilities and drugs at the medical centre. Apart from that, he demanded for setting up necessary equipment, providing healthy food to the students admitted there and setting up a canteen at the centre as well as proper commodes in the toilets.

The medical centre is 24/7 open for the teachers, students, employees of the university and their family members. Mahiuddin wrote in his Facebook post, “The university is 100 years old. The students of the university are not allowed to take the exams unless they clear their medical fees. Why is there nothing at the medical centre even after 100 years? Why will we listen to the excuse that the authorities have nothing to do in this regard?

Chief medical officer Hafeza Zaman said, “If the centre is modernised, it will be good for us as well. Even the doctors do not have space to sit at the centre.”

The medical centre is located in an old building. The layers of plaster are falling off the wall. There is no boundary wall either. If someone keeps medical equipment there, it gets stolen due to lack of security. The patients are usually attended by the physician outdoors.

If students get sick, the physicians come here to treat them. In case of diseases like chickenpox, Covid-19 and dengue, students come here for isolation. They come here even if they are admitted under Dhaka Medical College.

The officials of the centre said there are only 22 beds for the patients, of which four are for female patients. Earlier, the students used to come here only for isolation in case of chicken pox. However, the students now-a-days come here also for diseases like Covid and dengue as well as for accident injuries and other diseases.

Hafeza Zaman, in charge of the medical centre since last December, said, “There are limitations at the medical centre. The administration is being informed about this. We have to run the centre with this limited manpower and budget. When someone comes to the centre, we provide wheelchairs and other things as per the patient’s need. The patients hand over those things to us when they leave.”

This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu

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