Patients in public hospitals are suffering because of frequent power cuts, and as the generator facility is limited to the director’s chamber and the doctors’ room. The situation is similar in both the capital city and districts. Power outage sometimes affects or delays operations and pose serious risk to patients, said a senior official in the Health and Welfare Ministry.
It was about 11:30 am. Patients in Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) were found exhausted, as there was a power cut for the past 45 minutes.
The hospital, which receives about 2,000 patients daily, has no backup facility to provide power in all rooms and cabins, said an administrative official of the hospital, seeking anonymity.
The director of the DMCH, Dr Mustafizur Rahman, told The Independent: “We do our best to provide treatment in any kind of crisis. During power outage, the operation theatre and other emergency services are kept running by power from the generator.”
Dr Habibullah Talukder, associate professor and head of preventive epidemiology of the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital at Mohakhali said: “Power has to be ensured in all hospitals for 24 hours.” The government should prioritise the sector for uninterrupted power supply, he added.
Earlier, all hospitals were considered as KPIs and, they used to get power for 24 hours, but public hospitals are now facing the brunt of load shading as well, he noted.
Hospitals are one of the important places where power is crucial to ensure services.Sometimes, operations have to be rescheduled and deferred by a day or two because of power cuts. Such was the case of Sultana Begum. “Doctors told me to come again on some other day, as surgery of my hand could not take place due to power cut on Wednesday. And, there was no alternative arrangement of power supply in the hospital,” she said. Sultana has been visiting the Mohanagar Shishu Hospital in old Dhaka for the treatment of respirator track infection (RTI).
“I was told to come today for eye surgery this morning but lack of power supply has left us in the lurch. I have not taken food for the past several hours due to the operation and I have been waiting for the resumption of power supply for the past two hours” claimed a surgery patient at the DMCH, Muhammad Kaikubad, a patient of cataract.
Expressing antipathy, Joity Roy, who came for a family planning operation, said it was quite harassing and surprising that a place like the Sherpur District Hospital did not have a power backup and the patients were made to suffer.
Hospitals like Shaheed Suhrawardy Hospital, Pangu Hospital, Shishu Hospital, Mitford Hospital, Mohanagar General Hospital among others, where patients has been suffering tremendously due to frequent power outage, sources said.
“This year is not for the first time that power cuts have posed problems for doctors and patients. But now, it has almost become a routine and the patients are at the receiving end,” claimed an employee of Kidney Hospital.
He revealed that surgeries were performed under torch or candle light several times when there was a power cut. “The hospital has received a generator, but it is not operational as of now, for some formalities like diesel supply has not been properly taken care of,” claimed a duty doctor.
In addition, water crisis is making life miserable for patients, said a senior nurse at Shaheed Suhrawardy Hospital.
Meanwhile, health and consumer right’s activists urged the government to ensure smooth functioning of power and other utility services at all public hospitals, as well as, other consumers’ services agencies.
Under the key installation of power, along with the Prime Minister’s Office and residence, President’s office and residence, jails and operation theatres and emergency department of all state-run hospital are entitled to get round-the-clock power services.
An official of the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), however, claimed that around 1500 MW of power is supplied everyday across the country.