Physicians must serve rural patients

Published : 08 Mar 2024 08:37 PM

It is indeed good a news that physicians attached to healthcare facilities in rural areas will get special opportunities including financial incentives. Health and Family Welfare Minister Professor Dr Samanta Lal Sen came up with this statement while speaking at the 10th National Neurology Conference in the city.

The government has been working to provide healthcare services at the doorsteps of the people in the rural areas of the country since 2009.

Apart from the upazila health complex, the government has also set up community clinics across the country to reach health care services to the door steps of the rural people. The government is appointing doctors in upazilas, but many of them do not want to stay at their workplace. Rather they manage to live in Dhaka or other metropolitan cities.

We think if doctors, nurses and health workers get special opportunities and financial incentives, they will be encouraged to serve the rural people. On the other hand, if they intend to stay in Dhaka or other big cities in this way, we think they do not need to be in government job. 

They could earn big money by doing private practice in the capital Dhaka, other cities and big towns. The fact is that most doctors do not attend their duties in government hospitals and clinics in rural areas as they are busy with practice at their respective private chambers and clinics situated in cities and big towns.  

Besides, there is an attitude among nurses that they will not serve patients as they have been promoted to class II jobs. Therefore, if they do not change their attitude towards rural patients they should quit and go home. 

Our country’s physicians can carry out private practice unlike many countries in the world where government physicians are not allowed to do private practice. A recent health ministry study says increased health expenditure due to rise in non-communicable diseases has pushed over 4.64 crore people to below poverty line, creating impediment to achieving health-related Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. 

Most doctors do not attend

 their duties in government 

hospitals and clinics in rural areas

The doctors at upazila level hospitals and health centres have huge responsibilities for providing healthcare facilities to the people living in rural areas. So, the medical professionals particularly in rural areas as well as hard-to-reach areas will have to extend health services for upholding professional dignity. 

The rising cost of medical treatment is making the general people helpless in the country. In most cases, the physicians ask the patients to have unnecessary and irrelevant tests at their chosen clinics only to extract more money, patients and their families alleged. 

We have noticed that the authorities, physicians and nurses of government and private hospitals do not think to keep in mind the fact that many people of the country cannot afford better treatment due to financial hardship. While the patients are not getting proper treatment at government hospitals and clinics in rural areas, various high charges at different private hospitals are causing harassment to them every day anywhere in the country. 

In this regard, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina several times issued strict warnings to government physicians and nurses to do their respective duties properly in the rural areas or quit their jobs. However, the health ministry’s latest initiative will encourage the government physicians and nurses to keep our health systems accountable to the promise of health for all. 

We believe the authorities, doctors and nurses have a great responsibility to society. They will have to improve the standard of treatment in government hospitals and clinics.

The government has set up a number of hospitals and clinics in the country. The authorities will have to monitor what type of treatment is being provided from the government hospitals and clinics.