The Daily Star, 06 January 2009
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury yesterday observed that ensuring free flow of information would help curb corruption in the health sector, as corruption usually starts at the lower-tier of the local government.
He also suggested that the top-level officials of the ministry and its different departments should exchange views with the media regularly to check corruption.
“At the least, make sure that a patient can see a physician at the hospital,” he said at a view exchange meeting with top officials of the health ministry at ACC headquarters.
Health Secretary AMM Nasiruddin said the areas plagued by corruption include purchase of equipment and medicines, payment of pension to officials and employees, recruitment, transfer and construction of infrastructure.
Besides, there are irregularities in activities at Drug Administration Directorate and theft and misuse of medicines take place in hospitals, he said.
The health secretary also said that measures are already underway to address some problems.
The ministry is also planning to take necessary measures such as formation of a complaint cell, computerisation of the transfer process and changes in the process of purchasing hospital equipment, he added.
ACC Chairman Hasan Mashhud said, “Reports of corruption usually come from Upazila level. If transparency can be ensured at that level, it would definitely help curb corruption.”
He mentioned that he would request the government to appoint more people in the health sector.
The ACC chief also emphasised the need to formulate a policy to ensure transparency in the process of transferring and posting doctors, particularly in remote areas.
He also called for proper monitoring of the activities undertaken by the health ministry.
Director General (health) Prof Abul Faiz described emergency management in the hospitals as the ‘weakest point’.
He emphasised the need to improve professionalism among doctors.
ACC Commissioners Habibur Rahman and Abul Hasan Manjur Mannan and senior health ministry officials were also present at the meeting.