Unethical practice in the name of C-section

Dhaka,  Sun,  24 September 2017
Published : 17 Aug 2017, 21:00:53
printer
OPINION

Unethical practice in the name of C-section

Private hospitals and diagnostic centres fix their charges and rates, medical professionals their fees and the pharmaceutical companies the prices of their medicines freely. The government exercises no control over those areas perhaps for its commitment to the principles of 'free market economy'! Shamsul Huq Zahid writes
The finding of a study report that 70 per cent of the caesarean (C-section) births in Bangladesh are 'medically unnecessary' is unlikely to spring any surprise. 

Most people have been aware of this particular unethical practice on the part of the medical professionals. But they did not know the extent of the foul play. The enormity of deception, as mentioned in the Save the Children report, would surely shock and surprise people. 

There exists a paradox in the case of caesarean births. Some pregnant mothers, mainly belonging to middleclass and affluent section of society are subjected to surgical procedures for giving births though they do not need it. But many mothers, coming mainly from poorer families, cannot afford the procedure though they need it badly. Some of them do eventually embrace premature death while giving births. 

Thus, according to the report mentioned above, an unscrupulous section of medical professionals and owners of health facilities squeeze out an estimated $315 million a year from hundreds of families through unnecessary caesarean births. 

The rise in the greed factor among these people is found to be phenomenal. In 2004, the share of C-section in all births was only 4.0 per cent. It has now increased to 30 per cent.  

However, private hospitals and clinics are found to be at the forefront in this particular type of exploitative medical procedure. About 80 per cent of all births in these health facilities are caesarean ones. 

There have been allegations galore that most private hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres are involved in unethical and unfair practices to make people spend money unnecessarily on treatment. In fact, a number of studies and the real-life experiences of patients and their families have only confirmed the veracity of the allegations time and again. 

Yet there has been no let up in such exploitation. Thousands of families do suffer both financially and emotionally due to these exploitative activities of medical professionals and owners of private health facilities. 

 The Save the Children report said doctors and medical facilities are' financially incentivised to deliver surgically than naturally and face few repercussions if they provide misleading or incorrect advice'. 

This particular observation speaks volumes about the current state of health sector management in the country. It is more of a 'free-for-all' situation in the health sector as in the case with the country's transport arena. Private hospitals and diagnostic centres fix their charges and rates, medical professionals their fees and the pharmaceutical companies the prices of their medicines freely. The government exercises no control over those areas perhaps for its commitment to the principles of 'free market economy'! 

The policymakers tend to forget one particular truth: A sizeable section of the country's population is still well below the poverty line and many millions exist slightly above that line and are leading a miserable life. The government health facilities are highly inadequate to meet the medical needs of these people. 

Many low-income families are often left with no option other than seeking services of the private health facilities. But while doing so, they are made to borrow money or spend life's savings on treatment. The government would be failing in its sacred duty if it ignores the need of reducing the financial burden that the private health facilities impose on them. 

The government must activate the regulatory body like the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC) and the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and other relevant organisations to enforce minimum discipline in the health sector. It should set a guideline on the fixation of fees and charges by the medical professionals and private health facilities keeping in view the paying capacity of poor and middleclass people in particular.     

zahidmar10@gmail.com

 
ADDRESS
Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
Published by the Editor for International Publications Limited from Tropicana Tower (4th floor), 45, Topkhana Road, GPO Box : 2526 Dhaka- 1000 and printed by him from City Publishing House Ltd., 1 RK Mission Road, Dhaka-1000.
Telephone : PABX : 9553550 (Hunting), 9513814, 7172017 and 7172012 Fax : 880-2-9567049
Email : editor@thefinancialexpress-bd.com, fexpress68@gmail.com
Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved
Powered by : orangebdlogo
close