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DGHS cracks down hard on illegal healthcare facilities

  • Mohammad Al Amin
  • 3 September, 2022 12:00 AM
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The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has shut down 850 unauthorised private hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centres and blood banks across the country, including the capital, during its 96-hour fresh drive that started on August 29.

“It’s an ongoing process for taking action against illegal healthcare facilities. Whenever necessary, we’ll conduct such drive against the unregistered healthcare facilities,” Dr Md Belal Hossain, director (Hospital) of the DGHS, told the Daily Sun.

With this, a total of 2,491 healthcare facilities were closed in two phases of drive in three months.

According to the DGHS data, 850 private hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centres and blood banks were forced to shut as those were running without any valid licence.

At the same time, a number of healthcare facilities were fined Tk 1,696,000 for various irregularities.

In the capital, Tk 1 lakh fine was realised and two people were arrested for running healthcare facilities violating rules and regulations.

The health authorities asked all the private hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centres and blood banks to hang signboards with valid registration numbers so that people can know whether the healthcare facility is approved by the government or not.

A notice issued in this regard said all the private hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centres and blood banks of the country must mention licence numbers on the signboards with the expiry date.

It should be displayed with QR code if necessary. Or else, legal action will be taken against the facility concerned, it added.

“We’ve issued a letter to the local authorities to ask the health-care facilities to hang signboards at their institutions with valid registration numbers given by the DGHS,” Belal Hossain said.

The DGHS resumed its drives against unregistered hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centres and blood banks on August 29 after a three-month break.

On the first day of the drive, the health authorities shut down 92 illegal private health-care facilities across the country.

Of the total, eight were in the capital -- Khilgaon General Hospital, Central Bashabo General Hospital, Kanak General Hospital in Matuail, Salman Hospital and Diagnostic Centre in Shanir Akhra, Khidmah Life Care Diagnostic Centre in Bakshibazar, Dhaka General Hospital in Chankharpool, Hair Transplant Cosmetic Surgery Consultancy and Diagnostic Centre in Banani and Dhaka Pain and Spine Centre in Banani.

At a press conference on August 28, Prof Dr Ahmedul Kabir, additional director general (Administration) of the DGHS, announced that the health-care facilities that are running illegally would be shut down.

"We had given them (unauthorised hospitals and clinics) a three-month time. Those who didn’t take the opportunity and apply for registration or even those who have applied but are still waiting for the registration will not be able to run the hospitals or clinics," he said.

Ahmedul Kabir said the DGHS shut down a total of 1,641 unregistered health institutions during its previous drive that started on May 26.

The DGHS has also said legal action would be taken against doctors if they are found working for any unregistered health institutions.

According to the DGHS data, 1,946 private hospitals, clinics, diagnostics centres and blood banks are awaiting inspection to get new licences while 2,887 are waiting for inspection for renewal of their licences.

Some 1,489 private health-care facilities got new licences while another 2,930 renewed their licences during the last three months across the country.

There are 2,529 applications pending for new licences for private hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centres and blood banks.

A study of the icddr,b has found that only six percent of the private hospitals have licences.

According to the assessment made in 2019-2020, 35 percent of the hospitals, out of 1,117 surveyed, were operating without any licence while 59 percent applied for new licences or renewal of the old ones.

However, the experts involved in the assessment said the situation has improved later as many health-care facilities later took licences.