Opposition MPs call health minister ‘shameless’

4 July, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Terming Health Minister Zahid Maleque a “shameless man” for his “failure, widespread corruption in the health sector and mismanagement in coronavirus treatment, opposition MPs of Jatiya Party and BNP on Saturday demanded his immediate resignation.

They sharply criticized the health minister in Parliament for his failure to ensure oxygen in different hospitals for Covid-19 patients as many died in Satkhira and Bogura districts.

The health minister was not there in the House but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was present at the time, reports UNB.

BNP MP Gulam Mohammad Siraj from Bogura-6 first launched the blistering attack on the health minister while speaking on a point of order. He alleged that around 24 Covid-19 patients died in the last two days in Bogura for lack of oxygen.

The BP MP said Mohammad Ali Hospital in Bogra is a dedicated hospital to Covid-19 treatment but there are only eight ICU beds there and only two high-flow nasal cannula oxygen facilities. “As a result, the rest of the ICU beds are useless.”

He also said 450 beds in 3 hospitals in Bogra are overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients leaving no scope for the hospitalization of new patients.

Gulam Mohammad demanded immediate supply of 20 high-flow oxygen to every hospital.

Jatiya Party Chairman and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in parliament GM Quader, in his winding-up speech, pointed out widespread mismanagement in the health sector, including the health ministry.

He said the health ministry is still there where it was a year ago. “There has been no improvement.”

The JaPa chief reiterated that he had written many letters to the health ministry for increasing various facilities in the hospitals in his constituencies.

Quader also said he has spoken so many times in parliament about various shortcomings of those hospitals. “But nothing has happened as the health minister did not pay any heed to all this.”

Quader said he had called the health minister, whose father was a leader of Jatiya Party, six to seven times but the letter went unanswered. But the minister even did not respond to my phone calls,” he said, adding that the health minister did not show minimum courtesy to his father’s political colleague.

BNP MP Harunur Rashid from Chapai Nawabganj-3 said the health minister insulted the entire House the way he made comments about MPs on Wednesday.

“The minister alleged that the MPs are chairmen of the district hospitals and they don’t perform their responsibilities. The minister’s statement is not correct. This statement needs to be expunged from the parliament’s proceedings,” the BNP MP added.

Harunur Rashid said 90 percent of the MPs in parliament are from the ruling party. “So, why’re the ruling party MPs not performing their duties?” he questioned.

Reminding that the Covid-19 situation will get worse in the next 10-15 days, he said: “Shortage of oxygen supply is there. The government should look into this. Food assistance should be provided to the poor.”

Taking a swipe at the health minister, Jatiya Party’s Mujibul Haque Chunnu demanded his immediate resignation.

“What type of man is he? Doesn’t he have any shame? He never visited any hospital to see what was happening? He just holds meetings on zoom!” he said.

Mujibul Haque said the minister has compared Bangladesh’s Covid situation with that of America. Fewer people die in Bangladesh than what die in America, the minister said.

“Is it his achievement? What did the minister do in the last one year? There’s no oxygen in 36 districts. People are dying,” he added.

Another JP MP, Kazi Firoz Rashid, from Dhaka-6 said seven people died in one hour due to lack of oxygen in Satkhira. “What did the nurses, ward boys and doctors do?”

He claimed that when a patient is admitted to the ICU no one knows exactly what happens there. “ Do the lives of people have no value?”

He demanded the formation of a probe committee and publish its report in this regard.

Jatiya Party MP from Pirojpur-3 Rustum Ali Faraji said after MPs’ allegations about corruption in purchasing masks, the health minister on Wednesday claimed that no mask had been bought so far.

However, a top official at the Directorate General of Health Services recently told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Health that a piece of surgical mask was bought at Tk 356.

“Why did the health minister avoid telling us these facts?”

The ruling party MPs were seen silent during the scathing attack by the opposition MPs on the health minister.