Vol. 5 Num 295 Sat. March 26, 2005  
Front Page

5 joint venture hospitals in city by next year

The first of its kind in the country, five joint venture hospitals are being set up in the capital by five leading overseas healthcare enterprises and their local partners.

Of the hospitals, one will open its doors to patients on March 30, two in June, one by the yearend and another by the middle of next year.

The joint ventures involving a total investment of $162 million will run on commercial lines to provide services of international standard at competitive and affordable prices, sources said.

The five foreign enterprises are from America, Thailand, India and Malaysia.

Apollo Hospital Dhaka at Bashundhara, the largest of 37 hospitals of India's Apollo group, starts functioning only after three days.

Sources said the hospital being built on a 400,000-square foot area will be the largest commercially-run healthcare provider in Asia. Funded by local business group STS Holdings and managed by American staff, the 10-storey hospital with 450 beds will also have facilities for handling helicopter ambulance.

Moreover, a 450-bed Square Hospital managed and run by Thailand's Bumrungrad Hospital International in cooperation with local Square Hospitals Ltd begins functioning in June. Construction of the hospital on Panthapath involving an investment of $42 million is nearing completion.

Another 450-bed hospital -- Continental Hospital at Gulshan -- is expected to be ready for services by June this year. The project involving around $37.5 million is being jointly implemented by United Group of Bangladesh and K P J Healthcare, Berhad, of Malaysia.

An American private healthcare giant has invested $ 30 million to provide specialised hospital services by the end of this year. American Hospital Consortium llc (AHCL) envisages use and expansion of the 10-storey building of Kuwait Moitry Hospital and other structures on its premises at Sector-6 in Uttara, lying vacant for the last eight years.

"We have decided to hand over the vacant Kuwait Moitry Hospital to the American company. Twenty per cent of the 200 beds at the hospital must be reserved for free treatment of poor patients," Health Secretary A F M Sarwar Kamal told The Daily Star.

The hospital with US doctors heading all its wings and nursing staff also from that country is likely to operate by the yearend, sources said.

Another 200-bed hospital is likely to open by mid-next year at Nikunja, Uttara, jointly managed by Escort Hospital of India and Japan-Bangladesh-Friendship-Hospital. Foreign and local investment for the project is estimated at about Tk 80 crore.

When the joint venture hospitals equipped with high-tech new generation equipment and apparatus start functioning, Bangladeshi patients will for the first time get treatment directly under foreign doctors, surgeons, physiotherapists, nurses and experts in various fields, sources pointed out.

Under strict foreign management, the joint venture hospitals will offer services ranging from simple medical consultation to complex brain, spine, bone, kidney, eye, heart and even plastic surgeries by foreign doctors, enabling many Bangladeshi patients to avoid costly and troublesome trips to neighbouring countries for treatment.

Foreign doctors would also train local doctors to transfer technology in accordance with the new regulations laid down by the health ministry.

The health ministry recently constituted an 'accreditation board' to approve employment of overseas personnel in the joint-venture hospital projects to ensure quality service and a congenial atmosphere.

"We have to ensure quality services from these hospitals. We are allowing such projects also to encourage technology transfer in medical education. The focus is mainly on producing more trained manpower for healthcare," the health secretary said.

Three 450-bed joint venture hospitals are opening soon in the city. From left, Apollo Hospital at Bashundhara opens this week while Square Hospital on Panthapath and Continental Hospital at Gulshan are expected to go into operation in June this year. PHOTO: STAR