The 20-bed Goharua Hospital in Cumilla's Nangalkot has not been fully functional even 15 years after its construction and inauguration for lack of doctors, other staff and proper attention from the authorities concerned.
The six buildings of the hospital have now become haunted houses, where creepers have grown in abundance.
Around Tk6 crore of the total expenditure was spent to build the infrastructure of the hospital in 2006.
Many infrastructures have been destroyed and the hospital compound has now become a grazing land, with five lakh people in four upazilas of medical services.
In 2020 after 14 years, the hospital got five doctors and nurses who are currently providing outdoor services. After treating outdoor patients, they leave the hospital. Indoor services have not been launched in the hospital yet.
Earlier, the government created 12 posts for six doctors and six for nurses for the hospital in 2014. Only one medical officer was appointed in June who was there only on paper till November of that year.
After he left, two female doctors – a medical officer and a gynecologist – took charge for a while. The gynecologist went on deputation to Dhaka in November 2015. The medical officer worked two days a week at the hospital and four days at Nangalkot Upazila Health Complex. A few days later, she too was transferred to another hospital.
Meanwhile, two nurses were posted on paper in 2017 but the hospital remained closed for lack of doctors. In the meantime, the hospital buildings were almost abandoned.
In 2017, the local MP, the then planning minister (now finance minister), the then health minister, health secretary and director general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) visited the hospital and assured locals that it would be fully operational.
Then the District Civil Surgeon's office sent a demand letter and the ministry created 13 posts for the hospital. But even then the hospital did not see any development.
A medical officer was appointed to this hospital in 2019 but he was also transferred elsewhere after some days.
Nangalkot Upazila Health Complex sources said the hospital has five staff members since 2020 – a resident doctor, a medical officer and a gynecologist, a senior brother and a ward boy. They are providing medical services for only outdoor patients.
However, the doctors and senior brother leave the hospital after the outdoor service. There has been no allocation of medicines for the hospital. Medicines brought from the Upazila Health Complex are insufficient, locals have alleged.
The Nangalkot hospital has road connectivity with Manoharganj upazila and a portion of Laksham upazila in Cumilla, Sonaimuri and Senbagh upazilas in Noakhali.
Former Nangalkot MP Abdul Gafur Bhuiyan, who took the initiative to set up the hospital in his village, wrote in a recent Facebook status that Goharua 20-bed hospital had become a haunted house and the surrounding area turned into grazing land for cows and goats.
The current finance minister is unwilling to make the hospital fully operational because it was set up during the BNP tenure, he alleged.
Goharua resident and also Jodda West Union Parishad chairman Masood Rana Bhuiyan said the hospital should be fully operational to serve the local people. The indoor treatment should be started with the necessary medicines.
Cumilla Civil Surgeon Mir Mubarak Hossain said there is a crisis of doctors in Cumilla. The hospital will need additional doctors to make it fully operational, which is not possible currently.
If the Covid situation normalises, there will be both indoors and outdoors medical services at the hospital.