'We completed 90% of the construction, if all goes well we would hand over the building this month'
Eighteen months have passed but the 250-bed new building of the Thakurgaon Modern Sadar Hospital is yet to be handed over to the hospital authority. As a result, the old building of the hospital is treating patients, three times more than it’s 100-bed capacity.
Hundreds of patients and their care-givers are cramming in the old hospital building, but when the numbers exceed the capacity, they make their beds on the floor.
On a visit, hospital patients were seen lying on the corridors, and even staircases of the old hospital building.
A new building of Thakurgaon Modern Sadar Hospital was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on March 29, 2018, to maximize number of patients capacity.
Three years ago, through a tender agreement of around Tk270 million, a construction firm named Kazi Irphan Enterprise started the construction of the seven-storied new building, and it was scheduled to be handed over last year.
As the construction firm’s work was slow, the construction is in progress to date.
Abdul Malek, Proprietor of Kazi Irphan Enterprise, said, "We completed 90% of the construction, if all goes well we would hand over the building this month."
Many patients are facing great difficulties, the hospital cannot accommodate the number of patients waiting for a chance to get admitted.
The recent dengue epidemic and the infamous accident in Balaka Uddyan, contributed to the rise of the number of patients in Thakurgaon. Further, patients from adjacent areas like Panchgarh, Dinajpur and Nilphamari too come to this hospital as Dinajpur and Rangpur hospitals are far away.
The overall situation of the hospital is despicable, the authority is facing a huge challenge to manage the patients. The insufficient numbers of doctors, staff, nurses and cleaners are adding to their miseries and hindering proper treatment of the patients.
After a visit by the correspondent to the hospital on Tuesday, patients were seen complaining about the lack of doctors and medicines.
Though, not all the patients were dissatisfied with the hospital, as an elderly heart patient from Panchgarh, Almas Hossain, said‘‘ I am satisfied with the sincerity of doctors and nurses.’’
He said: "Only two doctors visit these numbers of patients taking turns, medicines are not adequate in number, but these doctors and nurses are doing their best."
Shaheda, a patient hailing from Haripur, said: "I came to the hospital to see a dermatologist. But as the hospital has none, I am being treated by a medicine doctor."
Department of Public Administration Deputy Engineer Moniruzzaman Sarker, confirmed the new building would be handed over during the running month.
Most of the construction work has been completed, electric lines are being drawn right now. If everything goes well, the construction company will hand over the building on August 28.
Along with the patients, Director General of the hospital Probhas Kumar Das was hesitant to believe about the department's promises and said: "Even if the construction work ends this month, the process of moving and opening the hospital at full pace would require a lot more time. We are suspecting that the referred date of handing over the new building might get rescheduled."
He added that the maintenance and construction of the new building is carried by District Health Committee Chairman, Ramesh Chandra Sen, Member of Parliament (MP) from Thakurgaon.
Civil Surgeon, H M Anwarul Islam confirmed the ongoing condition of the hospital and said: "We are treating around 400 patients every day in a 100-bed capacity. If enough doctors and staff can be employed with the new building the situation might change."
He also expressed that it might take time to equip the new hospital with a proper number of staff and hoped that the authority would consider the matter with utmost priority.