Rehana Akter joined Bangabandhu Memorial Hospital as a nurse in 2002. She had served for the private hospital located in Chattogram's Khulshi area for long 19 years. She also got promotions during her career there. Suddenly she lost her job along with 18 other nurses and 15 cleaners on Wednesday as the income of the hospital has decreased amid the coronavirus crisis.
Rehana told The Business Standard, "Though I did not get that many facilities in the job, I continued it to earn my livelihood. But overnight I lost my job of 19 years. I do not know what to do now in this disastrous situation."
The sacked healthcare staffers are given only a one-month notice period.
However, the hospital authorities said these nurses did not have any professional degrees. They were sacked following the instruction of the Directorate General of Health Services.
Kamrul Hasan, director of the hospital, said, "These 19 nurses were working as aid-nurses without any degrees on nursing. There was an instruction of the Directorate General of Health Services to sack such nurses. Besides, the income of the hospital has decreased as the flow of patients has reduced due to coronavirus fear. If this situation continues, the hospital will be closed. So we sacked them. But they will be given two months' salaries and other dues as per rules."
Manik Mia, president of the hospital's workers' union, said, "A crisis is ongoing due to corona outbreak. The low-paid staffers of the hospital have to struggle for bearing their family expenditure with their salaries. But now suddenly they are fired. This is inhumane. Even, the sacked nurses have not got the salaries of March as yet."
He also said they had informed the higher authorities and administration of the matter. The union had called an urgent meeting on Saturday, Manik said. "The hospital authorities will be given an ultimatum of withdrawing the decision. Otherwise, we will go for a movement," said the union leader.
Bangabandhu Memorial Hospital was founded in 1989 by late national professor Dr Nurul Islam.