Trauma centre non-functional, those responsible must be held accountable

EditorialProthom Alo illustration

Ministers of this government are always so eager to list the corruption committed in various sectors during the BNP regime.

The purpose is to prove how much the BNP government is against public interests, and how alert they themselves are all the time to protect this.

The news Prothom Alo published on 25 March about 21 trauma centres makes it difficult to differentiate the activities of the successors from their predecessors.

It’s learnt from Prothom Alo’s report that the directorate general of health services (DGHS) has built 21 trauma centres across the country.

Ten of them were built in the 2004-05 fiscal year and the initiative to build eleven others was taken in 2010. Now, there are no activities in 16 of them while two are still under-construction.

Only the outdoor departments are open in two of those while the other one is operating as the orthopedics department of associated district hospital.

The purpose of building trauma centres next to the highways was to transport and treat the injured quickly in the event of an accident, so that lives could be saved.

It was proposed to create 34 posts including a total of 14 physicians with seven consultants, three orthopedic surgeons, two anesthetists and two resident medical officers along with ten nurses, pharmacists, radiographers and technicians in each of the trauma centres.

But, none of the centres have staff appointed in accordance to the posts. No equipment has been provided either.

While these trauma centres have been established spending crores of public tax money, these are not coming to any use of the public.

Last November, health minister Zahid Maleque inaugurated Elias Ahmed Chowdhury Trauma Centre constructed at Shibchar’s Duttapara. But that centre couldn’t be started yet for the lack of workforce and equipment.

The condition of almost all the trauma centres in the country is the same. There are buildings and furniture but no workforce or equipment to do treatments.

Why were there new trauma centres built in the Awami League regime even after the old trauma centres from the BNP regime didn’t go into operation?

There could be only a single logic behind this, the wastage of government resources. Since its public money, nobody is accountable. That’s the trend that has been going with every government, old and new.

After building 21 trauma centres in the regimes of two governments, DGHS director (hospital and clinic) Sheikh Daud Adnan now said to Prothom Alo, trauma centre isn’t a realistic concept in the Bangladeshi context.

In his words, the trauma centres couldn’t be utilised for the weakness of planning. There’s not enough workforce to run the trauma centres. No new trauma centres will be constructed.

Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) secretary general Ehteshamul Huq Chowdhury said projects like the trauma centre have been taken for the lack of accountability.

Not only trauma centres, another report published in Prothom Alo on 22 November stated the number of establishments in the health sector that aren’t being used is 233. There’s one building in some establishments, whereas there are six to seven buildings in some others.

Just as the list includes 10 to 20-bed hospitals, there’s a medical assistant training school established on 10 acres of land as well.

That is the "liability" and "accountability" of the responsible authorities in our health sector. DGHS officials who have spent huge amounts of public tax money by turning what’s unreal into a reality must be held accountable.

Legal steps have to be taken against people who have committed major irregularities. Otherwise, wastage in the name of different unnecessary projects and buildings will simply continue.