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100-bed Rangpur Shishu Hospital yet to start treating patients

Zakir Hossain . Rangpur
23 May 2024 20:39:03 | Update: 23 May 2024 20:51:05
100-bed Rangpur Shishu Hospital yet to start treating patients
The 100-bed specialised hospital for children has been built on 1.78 acres of land in Rangpur city — TBP Photo

The much-anticipated 100-bed specialised Rangpur Shishu Hospital, designed to provide crucial healthcare services to children, has not yet started operation even after 15 months of its inauguration due to lack of necessary workforce and required amount of equipment.

The delay in the hospital’s functioning has sparked grave concern and frustration among the locals and civil society members.

Officials of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Rangpur division said the construction work of the hospital building with a government allocation of Tk 31.5 crore on 1.78 acres of land was completed in 2019. The structure was handed over to the civil surgeon on March 8, 2020, by the consultant firm. 

The two-storied hospital building is developed with essential facilities including an emergency unit, outpatient department, physicians' chambers, laboratories, operating theatres, a burn unit, as well as wards and cabins.

Apart from this, there are residential facilities for the hospital superintendent, doctors, staff, nurses and drivers including a separate building for a power substation.

The health directorate on April 19, 2020, designated the building as a dedicated isolation facility of Rangpur Medical College and Hospital (RpMCH) during covid-19 pandemic crisis. The hospital’s functioning has yet to begin even after the Covid-19.

Later, on the persistent request and urging of the local people, the then Health Minister Zahid Maleque formally inaugurated the specialised hospital on February 16, 2023. 

The minister in a discussion with health directorate officials in the hospice auditorium said the hospital would provide facilities of a 15-bed intensive care unit, a CCU and approximately 80 beds equipped with a central oxygen supply.

He also assured to appoint the required number of staff and procurement of necessary equipment for the hospital soon which is still yet to be met.

Shahabul Alam, executive engineer of the Health Engineering Department, Rangpur said the construction work began on November 21, 2017, at the cost of Tk 31,48,48,600.

"It was a two-year deadline project, but the construction work was completed ahead of schedule," he said.

The hospital's ground floor accommodates emergency and outpatient departments, doctors' chambers, and pathology labs. Operating theatres and a burn unit occupy the first floor, while the second floor houses a children's ward and cabins. There are separate buildings for doctors, nurses and staff.

On March 8, 2020, the contractor handed over the hospital to the civil surgeon but still it cannot be operated fully.

When asked about the barriers to operation, Civil Surgeon Dr Md Wajed Ali said the hospital will start functioning once the necessary manpower and equipment are available.

Dr ABM Abu Hanif, director of the DGHS’s Rangpur divisional office, said the process is underway as we sent a requisition letter to the health ministry for administrative approval.

RpMCH Director Md Yunus Ali said they had received an office order on January 15 from the DGHS to open the children's hospital’s outpatient department as an extended part of RpMCH child care. Two medical officers and a consultant were posted there to take care of the patients.

The outpatient department in the hospital, however, has been kept technically operational. The patients’ flow seemed to be very over there.

The hospital’s full-fledged operation is, however, contingent on the approval from the finance ministry, recruitment of necessary staff and the installation of medical equipment, the RpMCH director added.

Piyal Mostafa, a relative of a patient at RpMCH said, the hospital does not have enough facilities at the outpatient department. Moreover, it is troublesome and costly to carry a patient to the hospital from RpMCH. So, many of the people feel reluctant to go to the hospital for their children’s healthcare.    

Former health consultant of Rangpur municipality and a private practitioner, Dr Mantu. said the people of Rangpur have long been demanding to establish a 100-bed specialised children’s hospital in the city. Rangpur Medical College and Hospital (RpMCH) remained always overcrowded with patients. The child ward at Rangpur Medical College Hospital is not sufficient for handling child healthcare. It's urgent to resume the children's specialised hospital in the city.

Former professor and civil society member Mozzammel Haque said it is really unfortunate that the hospital remained inoperative despite the inauguration by the former health minister. He demanded the hospital to operate immediately, urging the intervention of the local lawmaker.