Barisal people rally against high health chargesOur Correspondent . Barisal
Local people and stake holders Wednesday morning held demonstrations in Barisal city, protesting at increased fees charged by the Holling Bery Syed Moazzem Red Crescent Hospital authorities.
At a four-kilometre human chain from Nazier Pole to Mahabaz area of the city, the demonstrators alleged that the authorities were trying to turn the hospital into a profit-making organisation, which was set up as a non-profit service centre.
Amanatganj Red Crescent Maternity and Child Welfare Centre Execution Committee organised the programme participated in by hundreds of people from different walks of life.
Among others Professor Golam Kibria Monu, convener of the committee, Ebaidul Huq Chan, district BNP convener, Syed Anis, district AL secretary, Mahbub Uddin Birbikram, AL leader, Habibur Rahman Tipu, local ward councillor, addressed the rally.
The speakers said the fifty-bed four-storied hospital was the only major health and medical service provider of the lower-income-group-populated northern part of the city.
They alleged that although the hospital was said to be a non-profit institution during its inauguration, recently the authorities increased charges of different services like outdoor fees increased to Tk 60 from Tk 10, caesarean delivery charges to Tk 18-20 thousand from Tk 3-4 thousand.
They demanded immediate restoration of previous service charges and free medicare and medicine supply for the poor patients.
Construction, equipment installation and deploying organogram of ninety officials, staffs need huge funds, said Iqbal Hossain Forkan, acting president of the Red Crescent Barisal unit.
The hospital governing committee in a meeting on July 7, 2012 decided to increase the service charges to bear minimum management expenses without any profit, said Syed Moazzem Hossain, donor and executive chairman of the hospital governing committee.
NR Holling Bery, a shipping agent, owned 1.4 acres of land at Amanatganj of the then Barisal district town and opened a ten-bed ‘Coronation Baby Clinic’ and maternity centre there on 27 September 1937.
Pakistan government added a labour welfare centre on its premises in 1964 and it continued to be managed by Pakistan Red Crescent Society and later Bangladesh Red Crescent Society.
‘Holling Bery Syed Moazzem Red Crescent Hospital’ was constructed at the cost of Tk 7 and inaugurated on February 5, 2013.
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