5 Saudi-funded floating hospitals to provide healthcare in remote areas
DOT Desk: Five floating hospitals funded by Saudi Arabia will provide a host of healthcare services to poor people in hard-to-reach areas of Bangladesh. Two of the hospital ships have already been constructed and are ready to start operations in June while the remaining three are being built at Narayanganj Shipyard, according to Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) sources, reports TBS.
These hospitals will provide primary health care as well as general surgery facilities and laboratory services to the people of Tahirpur upazila in Sunamganj, Haimchar upazila in Chandpur, Charfashan upazila in Bhola, Phulchari upazila in Gaibandha, Roumari upazila in Kurigram. Each upazila will have a ship in its vicinity for three months.
Dr Md Mahmudur Rahman, assistant director (of hospitals and clinics) at DGHS, told The Business Standard (TBS), the buoyant hospitals, all named after the late Saudi King Abdullah, will be financed by the Islamic Development Bank under the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Programme for Charity Works (KAAP). Under a 2017 agreement signed by the bank and the DGHS, the floating hospitals will be initially operated by Friendship, an NGO that has been running hospital ships in Bangladesh for over two decades, he said. “On 21 March 2022, the then Additional Director General of the DGHS Professor Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora held a meeting with the other two parties concerned,” he said. “It is a tripartite project. Friendship will manage the hospital ships for the first five years. When the ships will go to different areas, our health workers will assist them with all kinds of activities including EPI vaccination, antenatal care, tuberculosis test, cervical cancer test and others,” Mahmudur Rahman said. “After five years, Friendship will hand over the operations of hospital ships to the DGHS. Our health workers will learn to work in ship hospitals by this time,” he added. Building the ships and the first five years of operation cost about $20 million. All the ships will be named King Abdullah Friendship Hospital 1-5, reports ARAB news. The biggest ship, King Abdullah Hospital 1, is 31 meters long and has an operation theatre for general surgical operations and a separate theatre for eye surgery.