The government is actively considering enacting a law to force the private medical colleges to fulfill their conditions in a bid to ensure quality medical education.
Health Minister Mohammad Nasim, who after assuming office talking tough against errant doctors, made the disclosure in an interview with UNB on Thursday at his secretariat office.
“We’ve a policy to run the private medical colleges. But, many private medical colleges don’t comply with it. Even many others don’t have adequate structures, good faculty members as well as hospitals. So, we need to enact a law. No medical college will get government approval if doesn’t meet the required conditions,” he said.
Nasim, also the presidium member of the ruling Awami League, said the main aim of a medical collage is to provide service. “If an institution focuses on business, service doesn’t get the due attention, though that’s the priority. Business should also be service-oriented one.”
“There are some people who want to do business in every sector. RMG sector businessmen, fish exporters too want to take licenses for setting up medical colleges. If they want to set up good hospitals, good schools that’s fine, but they have to abide by the related laws if they want to invest in medical college. So, we want to enact a law so that no one can escape taking advantage of loopholes in laws,” the Health Minister said.
During the interview, the Awami League leader talked about many issues related to health, including the private medical college, community clinic, and manpower, the presence of doctors in rural hospitals, health insurance, budget and fake medicines.
To ensure the presence of doctors in hospitals in the countryside, the minister said the government is thinking to give incentives to the physicians who will work in hospitals in remote areas.
“The government has a decision that the doctors who will remain on-duty in rural hospitals for a stipulated time, s/he will get priority for admission to the postgraduate courses,” he added.
A meeting of the National Health Council will be convened in the last week of this month, the minister said adding, “We’ve already sought the Prime Minister’s schedule for the meeting as she heads the council.”
Issues like health insurance, incentive for doctors and transformation of the health policy into law, will be discussed at the council. “We’ll take a decision in the meeting on providing health insurance as it is provided in the welfare states of the globe. We’ll discuss how it’ll be implemented among the poor and middle-income group.”
Mentioning that the country has got a health policy in place, Nasim said the policy will be transformed into a law so that nothing can take place beyond its ambit.
Mentioning that a citizen has the right to get quality health service from the state, Nasim said, “We’re working to ensure people’s right to healthcare… steps will be taken to reach the community clinic to every corner of rural Bangladesh.”
Observing that the Bangladesh has many achievements in the health sector for which the country was awarded with international prizes, Mohammad Nasim said their government will take more pro-people and well-thought-out steps to brighten image of the health sector and ensure quality service.
As his attention was drawn to the fact that many people are not aware of various standard health services provided by the government, the Health Minister said there are less publicity to make people aware about it. “Steps will be taken in this regard.”
The minister also talked about increasing budget for the health sector saying they will not be able to work properly with the existing budget allocation. “It won’t be possible to reach the healthcare services to the doorsteps of people if the allocation is not increased. I’ll talk to the Finance Minister to request him to increase allocations for this sector.”
About establishing specialised hospitals outside Dhaka, the minister said his ministry is not thinking on the issue right now due to accommodation constraints. Besides, he said, there has been a marked development in the communications system between Dhaka and other parts of the country.
On lack of manpower in the health sector, Nasim said they have already given some proposals to the Public Administration Ministry in this regard. “We’re thinking to arrange an inter-ministerial meeting to take quick decisions to this end.”
Nasim also voiced his firm resolve to check fake and adulterated medicines saying, “I’ve already talked to the owners of pharmaceutical industries as well as officials of the drug administration. The owners are responding positively.”
About his new assignment, Nasim who was the Home Minister in Sheikh Hasina’s first cabinet, said he is enjoying the current job. “I want to discharge my duties with integrity. There might be some mistake, faults, but I want to move ahead taking lessons from the faults.”