Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the 31-bed Shah Paran Hospital in Sylhet city in 2016. But services have still not started there even though it has been three years since the inauguration.
Authorities say that patients cannot be admitted because the hospital has no financial approval and no staff. It does not have the necessary equipment either. In the morning, a doctor sees only a small number of patients in the outdoor department. However, they are not given any medicines.
Sylhet Divisional Director (Health) Dr Devapad Roy said, "The government will appoint new doctors next month, and the hospital will be ready to operate from early next year."
However, the civil surgeon of Sylhet Dr Premanando Mondal said, "Only appointing doctors won't do. Third and fourth grade employees have not been recruited yet. Also, funds have not been allocated as required. The hospital does not have the necessary equipment either. It is not possible to start a hospital without all of this."
The hospital building was found to be empty on Saturday afternoon. There was only a guard there.
Asgar Ali, a local resident who received services from the hospital's outdoor department, said, "Only one doctor sees patient here in the morning, and he only treats fevers or colds. If people have anything more serious, they have to go to Osmani Hospital. Also, no medicine is available here either."
The government had taken the initiative to open this new hospital to reduce the pressure on Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital. The construction of the Shah Paran Hospital started at 2014 and finished in 2016 at a cost of Tk16 crores.
Sylhet Sadar Upazila Chairman Ashfaq Ahmed said, "Osmani Hospital holds three to four times more patients than its capacity. As a result, patients do not get the desired service. Also, it is not possible to bring patients from remote areas of Sadar upazila to Osmani Hospital. So, the government built the Shah Paran Hospital in the Khadim area."
"The government approved the allocation of manpower for the hospital this year. So, hopefully it will be possible to start services soon," he added.
Himanshu Lal Roy, the deputy director of Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital, said, "The Shah Paran Hospital was built as part of a political commitment. When politicians pledge, they only think of constructing the hospital building, they do not worry about the money and the manpower that has to be approved for the hospital to function. As a result, the building stands, but the hospital cannot start services because the rest of the process has not been completed."