The Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD) has run out of storage space for ventilators (used to treat Covid-19 patients) – a situation that emerged when equipment was purchased indiscriminately, only to leave them in the depot without supplying them to hospitals.
The USAID recently supplied Bangladesh 100 ventilators – a medical tool used to treat Covid-19 patients with breathing difficulties – but the CMSD is running out of storage space.
This was disclosed during a meeting held at the Health Ministry on 11 November, with Health Minister Zahid Maleque in the chair.
According to the minutes of the meeting, the depot is now filled with unnecessary equipment purchased at different times through financial irregularities.
Health Secretary Abdul Mannan said he will accompany the Health Minister to CMSD to check the goods.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is investigating any anomalies into the purchase of the equipment, he informed.
Speaking at the meeting on health sector procurement for the current financial year, CMSD Director Abu Hena Morshed Zaman said that since between the start of his tenure in May and October 20, he had received purchase plans worth Tk345.62 crore against various operation plans, which will be completed by next May.
During the meeting, the Health Secretary claimed that unused items remaining in the CMSD warehouse were purchased with people's money. The ACC is looking into why these items are lying in the warehouse. "We would like to give them the right answer. As far as I am concerned, we have done nothing wrong."
"We want to be completely transparent when we buy medical equipment for Covid-19 treatment. The Ministry can authorize purchases of up to Tk50 crore. But we want to keep an account of amounts as small as Tk50."
Director General of the Health Directorate, Abul Bashar Mohammed Khurshid Alam, instructed the line director and hospital management to remove unusable goods from the CMSD store within 15 days.
He said the Committee formed to survey the ventilators was only signed by one person.
During the meeting, it was decided to vacate the warehouse within 30 November by preparing a list of stocked equipment and ensuring their distribution.