BSMMU offers specialist doctor’s service at outdoor for only Tk 200
Ziauddin Ahmed, owner of a small grocery in a village of Tongibari upazila in Munshiganj, had been suffering from skin diseases for more than three years.
He visited around half a dozen doctors in the district but got little relief. Later, Munshiganj doctors advised him to visit a specialist doctor in Dhaka. But he could not be happy knowing that a specialist doctor’s fee at any private clinic in the capital would be as high as around Tk 1,000.
When Ziauddin almost lost hope, a neighbour told him about the evening-shift outdoor service of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).
“I had a different experience there [at BSMMU] compared to other government hospitals. I was surprised that I could visit a senior specialist doctor for Tk 200 only,” said Ziauddin, talking to this newspaper in the last week of September.
“I could not imagine that it will be possible to visit a professor at such a small fee. This service is a boon for limited-income group,” he was stating.
The BSMMU authorities in October 2011 introduced the evening outdoor service, first of its kind in a government hospital in the country. Around 4 lakh patients received treatment there till August.
The service is rich with contributions from professors and associate professors of over two dozen departments including medicine, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, skin and venereal diseases, ENT (ear, nose and throat), and physical medicine. Nowadays, people of affluent families prefer to visit doctors at their private chambers or at private hospitals and clinics because they think doctors at government hospitals do not take care of patients properly.
Talking to The Daily Star, several such patients said the BSMMU service had proved them wrong.
“I have ability to visit doctors at private clinics. But I have received treatment and completed different tests here at low cost,” said Shajahan, a businessman.
On average, 275 people get the service daily, according to BSMMU records.
To have the service, people standing in a queue buy tickets to visit doctors. After taking advices from a doctor, a patient can revisit the doctor within one month of buying the ticket.
Many doctors concerned say it is their responsibility to provide treatment to poor people at an affordable cost.
“We have studied in government medical colleges run with public money. So it is our duty to serve people, especially those who are under privileged,” said Dr Dipak Kumar Das, chief of laser and cosmetic unit of dermatology department at BSMMU.
Talking to The Daily Star, BSMMU Vice-Chancellor Prof Shahidullah Sikder said the university authorities have plans to improve the service.
“Currently, treatments relating to 27 disciplines are provided here. We will add more. Besides, there is no surgery facility under the outdoor service. We are planning to initiate this,” he added.
Partha Pratim Bhattacharjee and Pankag Karmakar