Owner associations praise decision, say it is reward for institutions that follow legal process
Healthcare professionals working at unlicensed private clinics or clinics with expired licenses that have not applied for renewal will be denied the Covid-19 vaccine, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Director (Hospitals) Farid Uddin Mia has said.
The DGHS director made the remark after mentioning that healthcare professionals in the private sector are among those to receive high priority in the vaccine deployment plan.
He added that healthcare professionals must still register online for the vaccine even though the health authorities are asking for lists.
Owners of private healthcare facilities have praised the decision to deny vaccines to unlicensed clinics, saying it will lead to more effective distribution of the vaccine.
Sources from the Hospital and Clinics unit of DGHS discussions are ongoing about the specific priority within the private sector. Initial plans are for those providing services to Covid-19 patients to receive first priority, followed by those have proper licenses, those in the process of getting licenses, and lastly those who have pending files but are trying to get licenses.
The final decision on priority is yet to be taken, the sources stressed.
Meanwhile, to assess the number of vaccines required for healthcare professionals in the private sector, the Hospital and Clinics unit of DGHS sent letters to the two biggest owner associations of private hospitals and clinics in the country on January 17.
Bangladesh Private Medical College Association (BPMCA) President MA Mubin Khan said they received the letter on Tuesday.
When asked if there were any concerns about the online registration app, he said: “As far as I understand, the app is for the general people who are in particular professions considered for the priority list.”
He also said the denial of vaccines to unlicensed clinics was a reward for those who are following the legal process.
Dr Md Moniruzzaman Bhuiyan, president of Bangladesh Private Clinic and Diagnostic Owner’s Association (BPCDOA), said the denial of vaccines for unlicensed clinics was not a problem for the association as all of their members either have licenses or have applied for renewal.
List of private facilities yet to be finalized
According to the DGHS, the number of hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres in the country is more than 17,000.
The DGHS Health Bulleting 2019 says the number of registered private hospitals and clinics is 5,321 and the number of registered private diagnostic centres is 9,529, bringing the total number of registered private health care facilities to around 15,000.
According to the two owners’ associations, a little over 11,000 institutes recently became members. The BPMCA has 70 member organizations while BPCDOA have a little over 11,000 members.
BPCDOA President Prof Dr Md Moniruzzaman Bhuiyan said around 6,500 of their members have licenses, while around 4,000 are at the pending stage. The remaining members are in the process of licensing.
According to the hospital section of the DGHS, a total 14,198 applications have been received since the online registration system was initiated two years ago. Among them, only 6,818 unique facilities received licenses.
Md Yunus Ali, a deputy director of the unit who was tasked with looking into the licensing issue, said they have been unable to finalize the list as they are yet to receive all the lists from the civil surgeons.
The civil surgeons were asked to send lists to the hospital section in August last year.
When asked about the updated list, he said: “It is official information, and we are not displaying it on the website. You need to file an RTI to get the information.”
Dr Farid Uddin, chief of the unit, said he could not provide the latest registration data as he was out of the office for a meeting.