The hospital's six buildings have now been taken on a desolate appearance thanks to an abundance of creepers enveloping the three-acre area
Even 15 years after its construction and inauguration, the 20-bed Goharua Hospital in Comilla's Nangalkot is still not fully functional due to a shortage of doctors, other staffers, and necessary attention from the authorities.
The hospital's six buildings have now been taken on a desolate appearance thanks to an abundance of creepers enveloping the three-acre area.
Around Tk6 crore was spent to build the infrastructure of the hospital inaugurated in 2006. However, many such infrastructures have long been destroyed and the hospital compound has now become a grazing land, depriving 500,000 people in four upazilas of medical services.
After 14 years, the hospital finally got five doctors and nurses to provide outpatient treatments in 2020. However, the hospital's inpatient services have yet to be implemented.
In 2014, the government created 12 positions for the hospital, including six doctors and six nurses. In June, just one medical officer was appointed, and he was only there on paper until November of the same year.
For a time after he left, two female doctors – a medical officer and a gynaecologist – took over. In November 2015, the gynaecologist was delegated to Dhaka. The medical officer worked at the hospital two days a week and at the Nangalkot Upazila Health Complex four days a week. She, too, was transported to another hospital a few days later.
Meanwhile, in 2017, two nurses were hired on paper, but the hospital remained closed due to a shortage of doctors. Meanwhile, the hospital buildings were on the verge of being decommissioned.
The District Civil Surgeon's office issued a demand letter later the same year, and the ministry created 13 new roles for the hospital. Even so, the hospital did not see any progress.
In 2019, a medical officer was assigned to this facility, however he was relocated within a few days.
Nangalkot Upazila Health Complex sources said the hospital has five staff members since 2020 – a resident doctor, a medical officer and a gynaecologist, a senior brother and a ward boy. They are providing only outpatient services. However, the doctors and senior brother leave the hospital after the outdoor service.
There has been no allocation of medicines for the hospital. Medicines brought from the Upazila Health Complex are insufficient, locals have alleged.
The Nangalkot hospital has road connectivity with Monoharganj upazila and a portion of Laksham upazila in Comilla, Sonaimuri and Senbag upazilas in Noakhali.
Goharua resident and also Jodda West Union Parishad chairman Masood Rana Bhuiyan said: “The hospital should be fully functional in order to serve the residents of the area. The inpatient department should be made operational with necessary medicines.”
Speaking on the issue, Comilla Civil Surgeon Mir Mubarak Hossain said: “There is a crisis of doctors in Comilla. The hospital will need additional doctors to make it fully operational, which is not possible currently. If the Covid situation normalizes, there will be both inpatient and outpatient departments at the hospital.”