Mugda Medical College principal Dr Shah Golam Tuhin has been made the acting director of the hospital
The government has removed the director of Mugda General Hospital in Dhaka and attached him to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) as an officer on special duty (OSD), an instance of punitive action often taken against public servants.
“I received the OSD order on Wednesday,” Shahid Mohammad Sadiqul Islam told Dhaka Tribune yesterday.
The move comes amid the controversy over the quality of masks the hospital received from the Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD) to combat the coronavirus crisis.
The health ministry, however, says Sadiqul was transferred to the DGHS as he had informed the authorities of being infected with Covid-19.
“The director first informed the ministry about being infected and went into self-quarantine, when we transferred his responsibilities to the acting principal,” Additional Secretary Habibur Rahman, who heads the ministry’s media cell, told Dhaka Tribune.
Through an order on April 26, acting principal Shah Golam Tuhin was handed the responsibilities of the director in addition to his present role.
Additional Secretary Rahman claimed that soon after Tuhin was made the hospital’s acting director, Sadiqul informed the authorities that his tests had come back negative.
“This created confusion. Moreover, he [Sadiqul] had complained that the staff were not listening to him after the hospital had been dedicated to treating Covid-19 patients,” he added.
Sadiqul, however, claimed that “rumours surfaced” of his being infected with coronavirus.
“I tested twice to be sure and it came back negative. I don’t know how the rumours surfaced,” he told Dhaka Tribune.
Like several other hospitals across the country, Mugda General Hospital received a batch of N-95 masks from the CMSD only to find surgical masks inside the packaging.
The following day, Sadiqul wrote to the DGHS asking whether the masks were fit for dealing with Covid-19 patients.
Later, local lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury, who is also the chairman of the governing body of Mugda Medical College and Hospital, sent a letter to the DGHS and CMSD director questioning the quality of the masks.
After the supplied masks created confusion among doctors and the issue was reported in the media, the CMSD said on Apr 2 that the delivered masks were ordinary surgical masks and said the packets had been labelled N95 by mistake.
The matter came to the attention of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and during a video conference on April 20, she ordered the DGHS to oversee the supply of N-95 masks to hospitals.
Following her instructions, the health ministry opened an inquiry. A three-member committee led by Additional Secretary M Saidur Rahman was told to submit its findings by April 24. The committee, however, sought five more days to finish its work.
“We submitted our report to Health Secretary Asadul Islam on April 28,” Rahman told Dhaka Tribune yesterday, but declined to comment on its contents.