A wide lobby with an organised seating arrangement, a reception, a comprehensive diagnostic facility and a team of experts ready to attend to patients' needs anytime. As unlikely as it may seem, these will be the features of a specialised public hospital. It will be the first of its kind in the country, and will become operational by the middle of 2021.
The 9-storey hospital on a 12 bigha plot of land to the West of the InterContinental Hotel, Dhaka will be under Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).
"This will be a super special hospital," said the project director Zulfiqur Rahman Khan.
The 700-bed hospital will have six units – cardiovascular centre, hepatobiliary and liver transplant centre, kidney and kidney transplant centre, mother and child centre, specialised intensive care unit (ICU) and an emergency unit.
The service at all the six units will be of international standard, or what people are used to getting at high-end private hospitals in the capital, he explained.
He added that since this will be a specialised hospital, it will only treat patients who have been referred by another facility or doctor. The patients' health will be evaluated at the all-in-one diagnostic facility prior to treatment.
The special characteristic will be the 100-bed ICU that will have separate sections for cardiac, surgical, medical and neonatal patents.
Moreover, the Mother and Child Care centre will have resources and services for autistic children, and the 100-bed emergency unit will have modern equipment. The doctors and staff will be specially trained to give accident victims the best possible care.
"There will be minimal hassle. Patients will not have to move around, as they have to do in existing public hospitals, to get the diagnosis done. Everything will be in close proximity," Zulfiqur said.
The construction of the hospital will cost around Tk1,000 crore, and this fund will be provided by South Korea on soft terms at 0.01 percent interest.
The repayment, according to the agreement, will have to be done in 40 years. The Bangladesh government can start repaying the money 15 years after the hospital becomes operational.
The hospital is being built by two Korean companies, and will be completed by July this year. The government will bear all customs duties to import equipment.
A Korean firm will manage the hospital for the first two years. About 140 Bangladeshi doctors, nurses and other staff will be trained in Korea prior to starting work at this specialised hospital. A batch of 14 people are already being trained in the first phase.
The hospital has not yet decided if the services will be free of cost, as in most public hospitals in the country. But the project director, Zulfiqur Rahman Khan, said payment will be necessary to maintain standards and sustain the hospital.
However, the charges will not be as high as they are in private hospitals.
The revenue generated from the specialised hospital would then help widen the scope of free treatment at BSMMU. About 45 percent of the patients at BSMMU are treated free of charge.