PM bashes health ministry for N95 mask scandal


The health ministry has come under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s scrutiny after the N95 mask scandal. The prime minister during the live video conference with the public representatives and district administrators of some Dhaka districts on Monday asked the health ministry to check how a dedicated COVID-19 hospital gets wrong mask inside the N95 mask box.

She said she had already sent some photos related to that to health minister Zahid Maleque. Her Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus who conducted the interaction later asked Health Secretary Md Asadul Islam to report to the Prime Minister about the issue within a day. The issue came forward amid widespread criticism from the doctors that they were not getting adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Many hospitals received boxes of N95 masks and when they opened they found different masks inside. The prime minister showed one example of Mohanagar Hospital in Dhaka which is dedicated for COVID-19 patients. “Boxes are labeled with ‘N-95 Mask’. But inside things are different,” she said, “You’ve to look into whether things inside the boxes are genuine”.

“I sent some photos to the health minster,” she said and asked them to check whether the suppliers supplied the right thing. She also asked about the supplier. Director of Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD) Brig Gen Md Shahidullah tried to convince the prime minister by saying that there was a committee that looks after any supplies.

He said due to quick supply, there might have some mistake. The prime minister stopped him and said she does not want to say everything in a live video conference. She again insisted that boxes are labeled with ‘N-95 Mask’, but inside things were different. She also directed them to strengthen monitoring whether the suppliers are providing the right things.

“Those who receive these (PPE) will check those properly (things inside the boxes),” she said. Then, the principal secretary asked the health sectary to immediately look into the issue and report back to the prime minister within a day.