The crackdown of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on illegal private healthcare providers across the country is a positive measure, but it is not enough to ensure good governance in this sector by breaking the cycle of long-standing irregularities, corruption and mismanagement, said Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).
Instead, the agency called for the establishment of an impartial supervisory body to monitor, control and, above all, ensure good governance in private hospitals, clinics, and diagnostic centers for a long-term and lasting solution.
Referring to TIB's recent research on the challenges of good governance in the private medical sector, its Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said, "The huge number of applications for new licenses and licence renewal submitted just one day after starting the drives, proves there is a lack of proper supervision in the private healthcare sector. In such a situation, it is questionable how effective the ongoing campaign will be in ensuring good governance in this anarchic sector.
"In order to reap long-term benefits, the long-awaited draft law for the control and supervision of private healthcare providers needs to be finalised and enacted soon, and specific steps need to be taken for its effective implementation. At the same time, it is important to establish a strong impartial supervisory body to monitor the quality of the private healthcare providers and ensure good governance."
TIB also urged the authorities concerned to ensure that licences are issued and renewed to eligible institutions by properly screening the submitted applications, said a press release from the civil society organisation yesterday.
TIB also called for ensuring that the Directorate General of Health Services is able to discharge its responsibilities in the face of any political influence, fear, without pity.
Citing the scams perpetrated by Regent Hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic, the TIB executive director said institutions that have so far operated violating healthcare rules and regulations should be brought to justice and punished.
"Those who have provided protection and patronage to these illegal activities in various ways should also be held accountable. Otherwise, it will not be possible to uproot the problem," he added.
In February 2018, TIB published a research report, "Private Healthcare: Challenges in Good Governance and Ways to Overcome them", which highlighted the trend of commercialisation and profit-oriented services of private healthcare providers, and the lack of government inspection and supervision in this sector.