Published:  02:31 AM, 15 January 2020

'Health ministry directive will encourage graft'

'Health ministry directive will encourage graft'

Transparency Inter-national Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed 'deep concern and disappointment' over the banning of publication of any information on health services without the consent from the authorities concerned.

Terming the restriction imposed through a circular of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare corruption-friendly, the anti-graft civil society agency urged the government to withdraw it 'immediately'. The ministry issued the circular on Sunday requiring anyone to take consent from the authorities before conducting a research or survey, or gathering news and other information on health services.

The circular has also banned taking photographs and videos without permission from the authorities and obliged anyone to secure consent from them regarding the objectivity of information before publishing.

In a press statement on Tuesday, TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman described the circular as "unthinkable which will create barrier to the free flow of information as established by the law of the country.""Not only that, it will defend all types of irregularities, corruption and plundering of public wealth," he added.

Dr Iftekhar said the circular has been issued mainly to cover up various irregularities and corruption in public hospitals.The TIB statement mentioned that recent media reports have unearthed an alarming level of corruption and unbelievable irregularities in procurement of equipment for different government hospitals.

The health ministry issued the circular to the chiefs of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), medical college hospitals and specialized hospitals.

Referring to the circular titled 'Visitor's Management in Public Hospital', Dr Iftekhar said, "It is our desire that everything necessary like safety of patients, privacy and cleanliness of the hospital be done in accordance to the prescribed rules."

"But in doing so, the imposition of restrictions on data collection for conducting research on the quality of hospital services or the prohibition on the collection of photographs or videos on healthcare activities without permission is imprudent. "

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