THE National Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and Hospital struggling with 414 beds but about a thousand patients a day is concerning. Patients are put up, as New Age reported on Friday, on the floor, corridors and even on the staircase landings although patients with cardiac ailments, as physicians say, need special beds, comfort and technological facilities. Overcrowding by patients and attendants has only added to the risks of infectious diseases and even suffocation for patients. While this is the situation with the largest, and the best, heart hospital, situated in the capital city, of the country, it is an easy guess for all to imagine the situation with other hospitals offering the treatment of heart ailments in outlying areas. A situation like this warrants that the government should be serious about the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and put in place facilities for heart care not just in the capital Dhaka but also in outlying districts.
As far as medical treatment is concerned, it is a truism that mostly poor patients crowd public hospitals or government healthcare centres as services there are cheap. It needs to be noted that usually, critical patients belonging to low-income groups flock to the NICVD, the only specialised government cardiac hospital in the country, as the treatment cost there is minimal with beds, certain amount of medicines and foods free for patients. But lack of necessary equipment and medicines there is also hampering their proper treatment. That healthcare system, as a whole, is in an abysmal state is evidenced in the fact that emergency and primary healthcare facilities are not ensured by the government as many positions of physicians remain vacant in many hospitals. Most of these hospitals have not been renovated in the past 25 years with their operation theatres remaining in an appalling state. With the public healthcare system, thus, sunken into an atrophied state, there has been an unplanned growth of private healthcare business, with private hospitals and clinics, many running without authorisation, charging the public exorbitant fees for services.
Most of the public hospitals are beset with umpteen problems of this sort, to say the least. This tends to show that the margin between what the incumbents think about their success in this sector and what has come about in reality has not diminished. Be that as it may, health is a basic right of the people, which is enshrined in the constitution of Bangladesh. The incumbents need to realise that they are constitutionally obligated to ensure effective healthcare services for all citizens including the poor. They, at the moment, need to take expeditious steps to revamp the National Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and Hospital with adequate funds for its expansion to accommodate poor patients providing them with special beds and other facilities so that it can effectively address the need of all with minimum charges.
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