This Cobalt-60 machine, imported from Japan for treatment of complicated diseases at Abu Nasser Specialised Hospital in Khulna city, has become dysfunctional as the sophisticated machine remained unused for the last one year due to lack of expert technicians. Photo: STAR
Sheikh Abu Nasser Specialised Hospital fails to provide proper medical services to the patients about one and a half years into its start.
Although the specialised hospital, first of its kind in the country's south-western region, is equipped with most modern instruments and devices and has necessary infrastructure, they remain a mockery to most of the treatment seekers in absence of necessary staff including expert technicians.
About Tk 20 crore equipment including ICU ventilator, machines for trans-urethral resection of prostate and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and cobalt-60 machine purchased for treatment of complicated diseases have been lying unused in the hospital for over a year.
Named after Sheikh Abu Nasser, slain younger brother of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibar Rahman, the specialised hospital was inaugurated on March 30 last year.
It made its start only with cardiology and nephrology departments and 50 beds although the original plan included eight departments and 250 beds.
In June last year, neurology department was opened.
State of the art equipment and devices were purchased from Japan immediately after the specialised hospital started functioning.
But in absence of competent technicians, an unused ICU ventilator worth over Tk four crore is gathering rust while most of the 13 dialysis machines of nephrology department have gone out of order, said reliable sources of the hospital.
Some other pieces of medical equipment are also likely to get damaged for remaining unused for long.
Cardiothoracic surgery, burn and plastic surgery, neurosurgery, specialised orthopaedic department and intensive care unit (ICU) could not be introduced in the specialised hospital due to acute crisis of manpower.
Against the requirement of 1200-strong manpower, the hospital has only 280 posts but 68 of the posts including those of resident medical officer, sub assistant engineer and electro medical technician have been lying vacant for over a year.
No major surgical operation could so far be done here due to crisis of experienced doctors, technicians and necessary equipment.
There are only 14 physicians who provide treatment to patients of outdoor and indoor departments.
"It is very difficult for this small number of doctors to provide medical services to growing number of patients. At least 20 more doctors are needed for indoor and outdoor departments," said Dr Mani Mohan Saha, project director of the specialised hospital.
There is also serious crisis of nurses and patients often complain about the quality of their service.
Touts, active in the hospital allegedly with the connivance of a section of corrupt employees, add to the misery of treatment seekers.
These people, moving around at the main gate, ticket counters, pathological department, patients' wards, administrative office and even near the office of the project director from morning to evening, often make treatment seekers give them 'benefit' in exchange of managing services like specialists' suggestion, admission and treatment.
The number of patients is growing day by day but acute shortage of cabins and beds and lack of treatment facilities are compelling patients from the region to go elsewhere, including Dhaka, even India, for better treatment, said Dr QH Asgar, superintendent of Khulna Medical College Hospital.