Patients suffer as physicians continue strike

A banner says physicians in Khulna are on work abstention protesting an alleged attack on a physicianProthom Alo

The strike enforced by physicians in Khulna protesting the attack on one of their fellows allegedly by a police member and others continued for the third consecutive day on Friday.

The strike has been causing immense sufferings to hospitalised patients and others who sought medical treatment, reports news agency UNB.

Medicare services came to a halt at all government and private hospitals, except for emergency care, in the district due to the strike.

Though the physicians are steadfast at their decision to continue the strike until the accused police member is arrested, the accused Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Naim was attached to the district’s police lines after withdrawing from his workplace in Satkhira on Thursday.

Kazi Moniruzzaman, superintendent of police in Satkhira, said the ASI was attached to the police lines after withdrawing from his workplace when the allegation of harassing a physician against him brought.

Patients and their attendants from near and far found the medical centres closed on 1 March 2023
Prothom Alo

Actions will be taken against him once the allegations are found to be true through investigation, he added.

Baharul Alam, president at Khulna unit Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA), threatened to continue the strike unless the police member is arrested, and a case filed against the physician is withdrawn immediately.

He issued the threat from an emergency meeting of their association.

The BMA leader further said they would fix the next course of action in this regard after another meeting of the executive committee at Shaheed Sheikh Abu Naser Specialised Hospital on 4 March.

“A decision of a mass resignation of physicians may come from the scheduled meeting on 4 March,” he warned.

Patients who came from different parts of the district failed to get medical services due to the work abstention.

Mehedi Hasan, who came from Rupsha upazila, said, “I came to Khulna Medical College and Hospital in the morning but after reaching here, I came to know that the physicians are on strike. Now I have to go back.”

Sheikh Baharul Alam, president at Khulna unit Bangladesh Medical Association
Prothom Alo

Mujibur Rahman, another patient at the hospital on Thursday said, “I have been here since morning with back pain. I thought I would be able to visit the doctor, but no tickets are available there.”

On 25 February, Sheikh Nishat Abdullah, head of Burn and Plastic Surgery Department of the specialised hospital, was physically assaulted, allegedly by a patient’s relatives including ASI Naim, at a nursing home in Sheikhpara of Khulna city during surgery.

Protesting the attack, BMA Khulna unit decided to observe a 24-hour work abstention from Wednesday to Thursday morning.

The physicians continued the strike for the second day as the accused cop was not arrested till Thursday.

On the other hand, Nusrat Ara Moyna, wife of the police member, held a press conference on Thursday at Khulna Press Club seeking intervention of the prime minister to resolve the problem and claimed that no incident of attack on the physician and vandalism happened on that night.

“I have video footage of that night which shows no evidence of assault and vandalism,” she claimed.

Moyna also demanded justice for harassing her and implicating Naim in a false case.