Only three physicians have been working in Boalmari Upazila Health Complex to serve around 500,000 people of Boalmari and its adjoining upazilas for the last six months, making it very difficult for many villagers to have access to healthcare, reports UNB.
Shortage of other manpower and necessary equipment are also hampering the services at the health complex, the lone hospital for the residents of Boalmari and nearby Saltha, Muhammadpur and Alfadanga upazilas.
According to the hospital authorities, over 300 patients visit the outdoor facility of the hospital every day.
Although the hospital has 50-bed facilities, 60 to 70 patients remain admitted here regularly, resulting in severe disruption in administrative activities and causing enormous sufferings to service-seekers.
Though there are 21 posts of doctors, only three are currently providing treatment to the patients here. Among them, physician Gias Uddin Ahmed is working as a child consultant while physicians Soumitra Sarkar and Shantanu Bhattacharya as medical officers.
Besides, two sub-assistant community medical officers are serving the patients at emergency and outdoor departments in the absence of duty doctors.
According to hospital insiders, health and family planning officer Tapan Biswas provides medical support to patients in addition to performing his administrative duties.
When it comes to cleanliness issue, the situation is even worse.
Among the five posts of cleaners in the hospital, four are lying vacant. There is no ward boy in the hospital for over a year. Except an office assistant and an MLSS, the rest of the posts have been lying vacant for long.
Besides, the posts of cashier, accountant and statistics officer have been lying vacant for years.
The only X-ray machine has been lying inoperative in an abandoned building for the last 10 to 12 years. And the ultrasonogram and ECG machines have been lying unused for 2-3 years, also for lack of manpower.
Marjina Begum, a resident of Saltha upazila who came to visit the hospital outdoor, said, "We can't afford medical expenses at private clinics, but we aren't getting proper medical services here."
"Immediate posting of necessary doctors and other staff can improve the situation at the hospital," said another patient who was undergoing treatment there.
Tapash Biswas, health and family planning officer of the upazila, said physicians currently working at the hospital are facing tremendous pressure ever day due to manpower shortage.
He further said, "We've informed the higher authorities about the manpower crisis several times, but no step has been taken yet."
Tapash, however, hoped that things may improve if the recent declaration of upgrading the hospital to a 100-bed one is implemented soon.