A "new and stronger" task force will be formed to keep the health sector on track.
The health minister and health secretary repeatedly made the promise this week.
However, it could not be learned how the task force will be formed and who are going to be its members.
On July 20, in a meeting with the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, the newly appointed Health Secretary Abdul Mannan spoke about the new task force for the first time.
On July 22, Health Minister Zahid Maleque told the reporters: "The government will form a 'new and stronger' task force."
"This task force will look into if there are any irregularities in the hospitals, clinics and other medical institutions."
Asked about how the task force will be formed and when it will start working, Abdul Mannan told The Business Standard yesterday: "It will include representatives of different ministries." However, he declined to give any more details.
Meanwhile, while talking to some of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) senior officials, it was found that they were still in the dark about it.
Also, Bangladesh Medical Association Secretary General Ehteshamul Huq Choudhury Dulal is sceptical about the new task force formation. "We do not have any trust in the word of the health minister. He keeps on changing his statements every day."
Dr Ehteshamul said the total health system needs to be overhauled. "A commission will have to be formed for that. Everyone – from patients to doctors to other professionals to government officials – will have to be a part of it."
However, Dr Ehteshamul welcomed the changes that are taking place in the health sector.
Recently, the government has made many changes in the health ministry and the DGHS due to allegations of irregularities related to Covid-19 response.
Also, there will be more changes in the coming days, sources said.
Meantime, some top officials including the secretary and additional secretary of the ministry have been removed.
DGHS Director General Professor Abul Kalam Azad submitted his resignation on July 21 citing health issues. And the government yesterday cancelled its contract with Dr Abul Kalam.
Also, DGHS Director (Hospitals and Clinics) Aminul Hasan has been made an officer on special duty (OSD) amid controversy of different irregularities related to Covid-19 responses in the health department.
Meanwhile, the government has appointed Dr Farid Hossain Miah as the new director (hospital and clinic) of the DGHS.
The health ministry issued a gazette notification regarding this yesterday.
Also, there are rumours that a few more officials will be removed.
Several DGHS officials, preferring anonymity, said there would be major changes in the hospitals, administration, and planning branches of the DGHS.
Experts say the reshuffle was needed in the health ministry and the department.
Qualified and enough people will have to be recruited and there will have to be transparency at every stage of work, they said.
Dr ABM Abdullah, the personal physician of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and also a noted medicine specialist, told Business Standard that the health ministry along with the DGHS is overwhelmed with corruption.
"People have a lot of complaint against the health sector. The reshuffle can fix a lot of problems. But if the change will happen or not will solely depend on the goodwill of policymakers."
"The health sector will improve only if they monitor everything in the right way."
Former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Professor Nazrul Islam told The Business Standard that the health sector needs to be streamlined with enough workforce.
"All the information, except for the ones sensitive to state security, must be made available on the website. Nothing should be done based on verbal instructions. There will have to be written documents for everything."
"The DGHS and civil surgeons do not have enough workforce to monitor illegal hospitals. The improvement of the health sector will be possible only if enough and honest people are recruited and transparency is ensured."