Three 20-bed hospitals in Bogura, constructed 15 years ago at a cost of Tk10 crore, have not yet launched their services and the equipment at these hospitals is losing its precious life time from being unused.
People in these areas are also being deprived of proper healthcare.
The Civil Surgeon's Office blamed the crisis on a lack of manpower, saying there is no way for these hospitals to operate. In 15 years, these hospitals were unable to appoint doctors and nurses – even start a medicine centre.
The foundation stone of the Nandigram 20-bed hospital in Bogura was laid in 2002. The construction work was completed in 2006 at a cost of about Tk3.5 crore. Although medical equipment was provided after the construction work, the hospital has not become operational yet.
Two other 20-bed hospitals in the district have been facing a similar fate.
The construction work on a 20-bed hospital in Santahar, Adamdighi upazila started around the same time as that on Nandigram Hospital. The initial construction cost of this hospital was estimated at about Tk3.33 crore. Kitway Pack, a company from Dhaka, got the construction work. However, the contractor disappeared without completing the work.
The construction cost of Aliarhat Hospital in Shibganj upazila was Tk4.32 crore. This hospital also has still to be made operational.
According to the District Civil Surgeon's Office, 18 posts were created for Nandigram Hospital in 2008: one medical officer, six doctors, five nurses, one medical technologist, one pharmacist, and one lab assistant. Eleven people, including medical officers, were posted to Aliarhat Hospital in Shibganj. Some posts were also created in Santahar.
However, it was not possible to keep them there due to various crises including a lack of allocation of: cleaners, peons, nurses, and medicine. Later, the posted officers and employees were attached to the concerned Upazila Health Complexes.
A recent visit to Nandigram Hospital found the main gate and some rooms on the ground floor open. It has no security or night guard. The beds and furniture on the second floor of the hospital are missing and electric lights have been stolen. Broken equipment was found in the operation theatre among piles of dust.
Further, the buildings built for the hospital staff have turned into jungles. According to the locals, drug addicts come to the place to take drugs.
The Union Health and Family Welfare Centre uses two rooms on the ground floor of the hospital as its infrastructure in the upazila is dilapidated. The centre performs birth control operations on women, at the hospital, once a week.
Mushfiqur Rahman, a doctor at the centre, treats patients at the hospital. He said that due to the dilapidated condition of the centre, birth control operations are performed on women at the hospital. Around 60-70 operations are performed there per month.
According to the locals, the 31-bed Upazila Health Complex in Nandigram is located in Bijrul Bazar, around six kilometres away from the Upazila Sadar. For this reason, they demanded the construction of a modern hospital. In view of this demand, an initiative was taken to build the 20-bed Nandigram Hospital.
Nandigram Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer Tofazzal Hossain Mandal said, "Renovation work is underway in our office. That is why some of our work is being done in the hospital. However, different equipment in the hospital is going to waste including due to the lack of manpower."
Former mayor of Nandigram Municipality Kamrul Hasan Siddiqui said it is very important to launch this state-of-the-art hospital to serve the people.
Former mayor Sushant Kumar said, "The opening of the hospital would benefit about 200,000 people in Kahalu and Nandigram. This government has also introduced community clinics and people are getting services there. But, this hospital is not being started for unknown reasons."
The location of Aliarhat Hospital is five kilometres away from Shibganj upazila. It will be about 17 kilometres away from Bogura city. It has a deputy community medical officer and a pharmacist on deputation. The team provides first aid to some people. The interior of the hospital is clean and has a security guard.
However, there are no medical centres or hospitals for the millions of people in the municipality of Santahar. For treatment, people in the area have to go to Naogaon Sadar Hospital, which is five kilometers away, or to the Adamdighi Upazila Health Complex, about eight kilometers away.
Local people expected that the construction of Santahar Hospital would put an end to their healthcare crisis. But the construction work on the hospital has not been completed yet.
Bogura Deputy Civil Surgeon Mostafizur Rahman Tuhin said, "The condition of the three 20-bed hospitals is the same. There is no manpower. The equipment of the operation theatre, worth lakhs of taka, is being destroyed in these hospitals. The government has only provided buildings and equipment, but not manpower."
"We have repeatedly written to the higher authorities for manpower. But that has not worked. As a result, there is no reason why the equipment would not have been damaged after being neglected for 15 years," he added.