Only 7 persons, including a medical officer (on deputation) and a nurse, are currently treating patients at the hospital. Four sanctioned posts, of a junior consultant (leprosy) and three medical officers, have been lying vacant
Nilphamari Government Leprosy Hospital has been suffering from a manpower crisis, including that of experienced doctors, much to the sufferings of patients affected by leprosy, a disease that attacks the nerves of the extremities, the skin, the lining of the nose, and the upper respiratory tract.
The leprosy hospital was established in 1965 on 8 acres of land at Notkhana village under Palashbari union in the district’s Sadar upazila, to tend to leprosy affected patients in the eight districts, including Nilphamari, of the northern region.
But due to a severe shortage of manpower, including experienced physicians and nurses, patients have been losing faith in the hospital about coming by treatment in it, sources have said.
During a recent visit to the hospital, this correspondent came to know that there were 20 employees against 42 posts in the hospital. However, 13 of the 20 staff, including doctors and nurses, had been transferred to different hospitals on deputation.
Only 7 persons, including a medical officer (on deputation) and a nurse, are currently treating patients at the hospital. Four sanctioned posts, of a junior consultant (leprosy) and three medical officers, have been lying vacant.
There were 8 nurses posted against 15 sanctioned posts in the hospital. But only one of them is currently working at the hospital as 7 nurses were transferred to Nilphamari Sadar Modern Hospital on deputation.
The only post of Medical Technologist (Lab) has remained vacant in the hospital, hampering different types of medical tests for leprosy affected patients. Meanwhile, the post of Leprosy Control Officer has been lying empty.
The post of Office Assistant Cum Computer Operator is also vacant, while only two office assistants are working against 6 sanctioned posts. Besides, the hospital does not have the required number of nannies, chefs and sweepers.
Shukaru Barman, Badir Uddin and Azad Ali, patients admitted at the hospital,alleged they were being deprived of proper treatment due to the shortage of doctors and nurses at the hospital.
Seeking anonymity, an employee of the hospital said that medical tests of leprosy patients had completely stopped. Patients were being deprived of treatment at the outdoor department due to the shortage of manpower. And many important instruments have been gathering dust.
Speaking on the issue, Palashbari Union parishad Chairman Momtaz Ali Pramanik said there were enough instruments and medicines in the hospital, but patients were not getting treatment due to the shortage of doctors and nurses.
Regarding the problem, Dr Virginia Shukla Biswas, a medical officer of the hospital, said: “I joined here a few days ago on deputation. For this reason, I do not know anything about the matter.”
Contacted, Dr. Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal, the medical officer in the Office of the Civil Surgeon and who is working as junior consultant at the leprosy hospital in addition to his duties, said: “Some staff have been transferred to other hospitals as the number of leprosy affected patients at the outdoor and indoor departments has decreased. We will bring them back if the patients’ number increases.”
For his part, Nilphamari Civil Surgeon Dr Jahangir Kabir said: “I have joined here recently. I will inspect the hospital and take action upon investigation. If there is a manpower crisis, we will take necessary steps after consultations with the higher authorities.”