Doctors and employees of around 46 percent of the private medical colleges and hospitals are yet to get their salary for April, different doctors' forums said.
While salaries at some medical colleges and hospitals remain due for a few months, Mandy Dental College and Hospital has not paid for as long as 10 months, they said.
Employees of these organisations are leading a miserable life, especially those who live in the capital. Meanwhile, owners of the medical colleges and hospitals are threatening job cuts whenever employees demand their dues.
Also, a recent survey of the Bangladesh Doctors Foundation (BDF) found that at least 61 percent of doctors in private hospitals had not been receiving their salaries on time amid the coronavirus shutdown.
The online survey that was run from May 13 to 15 recorded responses from 519 doctors, said Dr Nirupam Das, chief coordinator of BDF.
The survey also found that 83.8 percent of doctors are yet to get Eid-ul-Fitr bonuses.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services, there are 111 public and private medical colleges in the country. Of them, 69 private organisations are registered. There are also other private organisations that are not registered.
Doctors' forums said 39 among 84 private medical colleges have paid full April salaries while eight have paid 50 percent. Other organisations have not paid their staff a single penny.
The list includes some well-known hospitals such as CARe Medical College and Hospital, Anwer Khan Modern Medical College Hospital, Dr Sirajul Islam Medical College, Impulse Hospital, Renaissance Hospital and many more.
Owners of these medical colleges and hospitals are delaying payments on the pretext of a slowdown in business due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But employees said the owners earned a lot before the pandemic, especially during the outbreak of dengue fever last year. They said the owners were treating them inhumanly.
"The situation does not mean that they have a fund crisis. Rather, it is the reflection of their mean mentality," a doctor of Anwer Khan Medical College told The Business Standard seeking anonymity.
Doctors' associations have talked to medical college owners about the issue but to no avail. Dr Nirupam said his foundation had talked to Bangladesh Private Medical College Association leaders.
"After that, they revised their previous decision and urged the owners to pay the full salary. Yet, the owners are not paying and are giving the excuse of poor business due to the coronavirus outbreak," he added.
No salaries for months
Dr Mahadi Hossain (not his real name) has been working at Dr Sirajul Islam Medical College, one of the capital's well-known medical colleges, for three years. The medical college has both an academic and a medical service unit.
Even in March, before the spread of coronavirus, it was well occupied with patients. Dr Mahadi worked full time to treat patients, but claimed he had not received salary since December 2019.
He is among hundreds of other doctors and employees of the organisation who also claimed to have remain unpaid for five months.
Professor Dr MA Aziz, general secretary of the Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad, a ruling party-backed doctors' forum, runs the hospital. He could not be reached for comments despite several attempts.
CARe Medical College and Hospital, another prominent 250-bed hospital in Dhaka's Mirpur, has not paid over 600 of its doctors and employees for five months. Its Chairman Professor Dr Parveen Fatema hung up the phone after this correspondent told her his identity.
Later, Mizanur Rahman, admin of the hospital's human resources department, called and requested not to write about his organisation.
He said, "We are going through a crisis as students are not paying their academic and semester fees. On the other hand, hospitals are not getting patients for fear of Covid-19."
"Nevertheless, the hospital is paying employees who are in crying need," he claimed.
Bangladesh Private Medical College Association is the central forum of the private medical college and hospital owners. Recently, it has seen a division regarding a decision on payment of doctors and workers made on May 4.
Following the division, Dr Md Enamur Rahman, general secretary of the association and state minister for disaster management and relief, resigned from his post.