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Although it was the budget session, health sector was discussed more than other issues. Even several ministers of the government, outside the parliament, have slammed the health ministry for its failures and weaknesses. The health minister has denied the allegations and criticism every time and said that everything is fine. On the other hand, he was not responsible enough to be present on the closing day of budget session.

Among the criticism levelled against the health minister in the parliament, the MPs said they could not reach him even after making numerous phone calls. Opposition deputy leader and Jatiya Party chairman Ghulam Mohammad Quader objected, “The Ministry of Health is still in the same condition as it was a year ago. There has been no improvement.” He said he called the health minister six or seven times but did not get a response. “After calling the minister’s assistant, I told him to inform the minister. But the minister never called back,” he said further.

The allegations are serious. If the deputy leader of the opposition who holds a status of state minister does not get the minister by telephoning several times, then what about general people? Despite the minister’s denial, corruption, irregularities and failures in the health sector are as evident as daylight. From corona testing to the purchase of masks and equipment and the corruption in recruitment is no secret. They also failed to spend the money allocated to the health sector in the budget last year. What could be the reason of this failure?

While the opposition MPs have called for the resignation of the health minister for the failure, the real situation is very worrying. The day after the health sector was harshly criticized in parliament, Prothom Alo reported, “No ICUs in 52 per cent hospitals.” So what has the Ministry of Health done for a year? If there is no ICU, how will the patients be treated properly? Even if there is ICU, oxygen supply must also be ensured. Recently, 12 patients died due to lack of oxygen in Satkhira and Bogura.

How many more deaths will it take for the health minister to break the silence? Will he answer the questions of the MPs and the people? It is the duty of the minister to perform his duties properly and to compel the persons concerned to do so. The health minister has claimed that the MPs are not supervising the district hospital. The minister should also reveal the names of the MPs who are not performing their duties.

We the people of the country are not interested in the blame-game of the minister and the MPs. The health minister must take the responsibility for the failure.

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