Special Correspondent ;
Dhaka – The head of Bangladesh’s directorate of health services has quit after widespread health sector irregularities exposed during the fight against novel coronavirus pandemic, officials said on Tuesday.
Abul Kalam Azad, the Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services, tendered his resignation in the afternoon to the public administration ministry.
Health Secretary Abdul Mannan confirmed the DG of the DGHS, a key agency in the fight against outbreak, submitted his resignation.
Azad’s tenure as head of the directorate was due to expire in April 2021. He was appointed on a contractual job for two years in April 2019.
His resignation came amid an uproar over faking of thousands of Covid-19 test reports by at least two private hospitals, and a scam over supply of substandard personal protective equipment for the public hospital physicians.
The equipment scam had put many frontline fighter’s lives in jeopardy during their jobs at the public hospitals. The issue was however less discussed.
But the faking reports create an uproar across Bangladesh after many migrant workers sent back from Italy as some of them were found Covid-19 positive despite they carried a certificate that they were negative. Two hospitals were found initially responsible for issuing fake reports.
Azad had signed an agreement in April with Dhaka-based Regent Hospital, which allegedly issued thousands of fake Covid-19 reports putting the country’s public health system at risk during the pandemic, an official said preferring not to be named.
Police last week arrested the hospital owner, Mohammad Sahed, who is also charged with other fraudulences, including running the hospital without getting license renewed for the last six years and charging exorbitant fees in violation of the agreement to treat patients free of cost.
Azad, however, earlier claimed he signed the deal as directed by his “higher authorities”.
Three staff members of yet another hospital in Dhaka were remanded in custody on Monday for allegedly conducting Civid-19 test with unapproved rapid kits.
On July 12, a public hospital physician was arrested for allegedly helping a private health center, founded by her husband, to issue many reports without testing Covid-19 samples.
Bangladesh reported a total of 210,510 novel coronavirus infections with 2,709 deaths since it diagnosed first three cases in early March.