- The health complex was inaugurated on 1 November 2018 by the prime minister
- The hospital was built spending Tk25 crore
- All services except the outpatient unit are closed for lack of manpower
In November 2018, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Bijayanagar Upazila Health Complex in Brahmanbaria. The 50-bed government hospital has modern infrastructure and was built at a cost of Tk25 crore.
But even after two and a half years of the inauguration, the hospital has not been able to start providing complete healthcare services to locals due to inadequate manpower and necessary medical equipment.
So far, only the outpatient unit of the hospital has started operating. As the pathology department, emergency unit, and the inpatient departments are not functional, patients are not being able to avail the full range of medical services the hospital was made to be capable of providing.
As the health complex is rarely utilised, last year it was used as the district's institutional quarantine centre.
The construction of the hospital started on 19 January 2016 on a 3-acre plot of land near the Akhaura-Chandura road in Champaknagar village of Champaknagar Union,Bijaynagar Upazila.
After two years, in February of 2018, construction was completed and on 1 November of the same year, the hospital was inaugurated by the Prime Minister by video conference.
The four-storey state of the art hospital building has pediatric wards and separate wards for men and women, cabins and operating rooms. The hospital also has living arrangements for doctors. But despite all this, the facilities of the hospital are not being used due to lack of manpower and medical equipment.
In November 2020, two years after inauguration, only an X-ray machine, an operating table and a light, and two delivery tables were provided to the hospital.
Some 40 beds also arrived at the hospital in two phases but half of the beds do not have mattresses. As such, the inpatient unit of the hospital has not started yet, and the supplies have remained unused.
Also, due to the lack of workers, the X-ray machine has not been installed yet. And as there is no surgeon in the hospital, the operating light has no use either.
Although almost two and a half years have elapsed since the inauguration of the hospital, only one Health and Family Welfare Officer (UHFPO), one Residential Medical Officer (RMO), two Dental Surgeons and five Senior Staff Nurses were posted to the Bijayanagar Upazila Health Complex. An additional Dental Surgeon has also been assigned to the hospital on deputation.
But as the dental department lacks the necessary equipment, the surgeons are not able to do any work. And as the inpatient unit is inactive, the nurses are also idle.
However, even though the hospital has two approved assistant surgeons, one dental surgeon, two junior consultants, seven senior staff nurse, four medical technologists, one pharmacist, one chief assistant, one accountant, one treasurer, and one office assistant in addition to the UNFPO and RMP posts, the recruitment process remains incomplete.
According to the concerned officials, to fully launch the healthcare services, the hospital requires the appointment of all the medical professionals and the supply of adequate manpower and machinery.
Bijayanagar Upazila Health Complex RMO, Md Ashraful Alam, said, "We get all kinds of patients and we try to provide as much service as possible with our limited resources. If a patient has a serious condition, we send them to Brahmanbaria."
However, Alam hopes patients will get all kinds of services at the hospital once the emergency unit and inpatient department are open.
"We are trying to make the hospital fully operational," Alam added.
On the other hand, locals have expressed frustration about the hospital's inactive state and demanded that all the facilities of the hospital be started immediately.
Monirul Islam, a school teacher from Hajipur village in Harshpur union, said that as the hospital is not fully operational yet, locals cannot receive their desired services.
Zahirul Alam Chowdhury, a resident of Nidarabad village in Harshpur union, said that the Bijayanagar Upazila Health Complex has been a highly anticipated hospital for locals.
"But even after two and a half years of the inauguration of the hospital, locals have to go to Brahmanbaria or Habiganj's Madhabpur for proper treatment, which is unfortunate," Chowdhury added.
A resident of Bijaynagar Upazila's Pattan Union's Lakshmipur village, Md Alauddin, said, "I came to the hospital with my son's tonsil problem. The doctor said that the condition required an operation which cannot be done here. If the hospital was fully operational, we would not have to go to Brahmanbaria."
When The Business Standard contacted the Civil Surgeon of Brahmanbaria, Md Ekram Ullah, about the matter, he said, "We have written to higher authorities regarding the hospital and some recruitment was completed."
"We hope that soon, we will be able to launch the inpatient unit of the hospital which will bring the entire Bijaynagar population under proper medical facilities," Ullah hoped.