The government will launch a thorough inspection of all approved and unapproved private hospitals and diagnostic centres across the country within this month.
To this end, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has asked the divisional directors of health to submit a list of such facilities by Thursday, DGHS Director General Abul Bashar Md Khurshid Alam told the media.
Stating this after a meeting with Health Minister Zahid Maleque at the secretariat on Wednesday, the DGHS director general added, "There are many unlicensed private hospitals operating alongside licensed ones."
"At an emergency meeting on Sunday, we asked every divisional director of health to submit a list of all licensed and unlicensed private hospitals operating in their respective regions by 12 November," he added.
When asked what steps the DGHS had taken to curb deaths at unapproved hospitals, the health DG said, "We held the meeting to facilitate inspections at all private hospitals. We have formed a committee for this specific purpose."
"The civil surgeons of each region have been given the responsibility – supported by the administration – to prepare a list. It is difficult for us to implement this initiative alone, so we will seek support of the administration, police and magistrates," he continued.
"With their help, surely we can do this. We are optimistic about launching the inspections within this month. There are 6,067 licensed private healthcare facilities across the country," he said.
"Of those, 2,130 are hospitals, 3,856 are diagnostic centres and 81 are blood banks," he added.
Commenting on the death of Senior Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Anisul Karim Shipon – who died during a "scuffle" with the staff at a hospital in Dhaka on Monday – the health DG said, "Every death is a tragedy, and the incident is a matter of great regret."
"A police officer should never die in such a way. We are deeply sorry and regretful over the incident," he added.
"The hospital [where the incident took place] had no approval from the DGHS. Sometimes, the treatment for drug addiction and mental health care are connected, and sometimes they are not," he continued.
"The hospital claims they had approval from the Department of Narcotics Control, but not from the DGHS. But a facility must get approval from the DGHS to provide mental health care. So, we have shut the hospital down," he explained.