Despite the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation to arrange 3.5 beds in public hospitals for per 1,000 population, Bangladesh has only 0.32 beds for per 1,000 citizens at government healthcare facilities – letting the country's private health balloon rapidly, says a survey.
According to the survey, the income, value addition and surplus of the country's private hospitals have spiralled at an unusual rate.
Savings of the private healthcare facilities have been posting more than 21% annual growth as they have been investing more than Tk8,000 crore per year in other sectors, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) survey findings published Monday.
The BBS carried out the study on private healthcare providers under a project to upgrade the gross domestic product base year to 2016-16 FY from the current 2005-06 fiscal year baseline.
With the BBS Director General Mohammad Tajul Islam as the president and the Statistics and Informatics Division Secretary Mohammad Yamin Chowdhury as the chief guest, the project director Abdul Khalek revealed the findings at a programme in Dhaka Monday.
Abdul Khalek said they used 2017 and 2018 data to prepare the report, which brushed aside the unprecedented pandemic shock on the health sector.
The report said there are 0.32 beds at public hospitals per 1,000 population while the private hospitals have 0.64. The number of beds for 1,000 citizens combined with public and private hospitals is 0.96 – which is only 27% of the demand.
The number of beds in public hospitals for per 1,000 people is less than 10% of the WHO recommendation.
The report said there were 17,000 registered private healthcare facilities in Bangladesh including the diagnostic centres and dental clinics until 2018. The institutions employ 3.69 lakh people while 3.16 lakh of them are full timers.
As said in the report, the financial health of the private hospitals is expanding gradually.
"With a 16% growth, the gross domestic product of the private hospitals spiked to Tk26,737 crore in 2018 from Tk23,067 crore in previous year. Of this, the value addition of the hospitals in 2017 amounted to Tk19,229 crore – which is 72% of the total production," said the report.
In 2018, the hospitals spent Tk9,703 crore for staff salaries and other payments. Excluding the salary payments, the hospitals posted Tk9,526 crore operating profit in that year, it added.
The profit edged up by more than 22% in 2017 compared to the previous year, it noted.
The BBS also said the private hospitals in 2018 kept Tk8,904 crore aside in savings. The savings have increased by about 22% in one year. The expendable income has also risen at the same rate.
According to the BBS, there is an upswing of health sector income to be invested in other sectors. The report said the private hospitals in 2017 invested Tk6,962 crore in other sectors. The investment volume swelled by 18% in the next year and stood at Tk8,235 crore.
Farmers eat away 35.42% paddy
Another agri-survey published Monday said farmers sell their produce in the market more than they consume.
While presenting the survey findings, the project director Ziauddin Ahmed said a large portion of the crops produced by the farmers are going to the market. This has been adding more value to the economy through trading.
The report said farmers themselves consume 35.42% of the paddy they produce. The remaining 64.58% goes to the market. In the case of granular crops, the farmers consume 18.90% and sell the remaining 81.10%.
Statistics and Informatics Division Secretary Mohammad Yamin Chowdhury said, "We are working even amid the pandemic. By providing updated information, the BBS is playing a crucial role in national policy making."